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Former NYT reporter in xenophobic breakdown on Melania's new White House garden design


Former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald slammed Melania Trump for renovating the rose garden at the White House on Saturday, saying he was angry because the first lady was a "foreigner" who "had no right to our story to destroy".

The offensive outbreak was pushed back by a number of other journalists, including CNN's Jake Tapper, who accused Eichenwald of being "xenophobic and false".

Eichenwald's outbreak came within hours when Melania unveiled the redesigned rose garden on Saturday afternoon, which was completed in time for her to campaign for her husband's re-election when she spoke at the Republican National Convention there on Tuesday.

"It's a destruction of our history, something that no other first lady could have done," scolded Eichenwald, a New York Times bestselling author, on Twitter.

& # 39; This is the first time I've been mad that @FLOTUS is a foreigner. She has no right to destroy our history. & # 39;

Melania Trump unveiled the garden's new look on Saturday

Former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald (left) slammed Melania Trump for renovating the rose garden at the White House on Saturday, saying he was "angry" with the first lady-led makeover for being "a foreigner." " be.

Former New York Times journalist Kurt Eichenwald tweeted about the rose garden on Saturday, highlighting its story

Former New York Times journalist Kurt Eichenwald tweeted about the rose garden on Saturday, highlighting its story

In tweets that have since been deleted, Eichenwald said the foreign-born first lady ruined the garden with her redesign

In tweets that have since been deleted, Eichenwald said the foreign-born first lady ruined the garden with her redesign

2007: Tulips are shown in full bloom in the Rose Garden of the White House. Social media users blew up the design of the newly renovated rose garden in the White House

2007: Tulips are shown in full bloom in the Rose Garden of the White House. Social media users blew up the design of the newly renovated rose garden in the White House

2020: Social media users branded the renovation as a "cemetery" and "parking lot" and criticized it for uprooting cherry trees

2020: Social media users branded the renovation as a "cemetery" and "parking lot" and criticized it for uprooting cherry trees

The comments came in response to a tweet from FLOTUS expressing their excitement about being part of such a historic project and thanking everyone for making it possible to "renew this iconic and truly beautiful space".

On Sunday, 59-year-old Eichenwald apologized for his tweets, which have now been deleted.

"People may have misunderstood my point that Melania is a foreigner and tearing up plants that were put up by nearly 100 years of first ladies," he tweeted.

& # 39; It was a complex point and I was wrong to say. My point was people who come to America should celebrate its history, not ignore it.

& # 39; But I deleted the tweets. I didn't have the bad intentions they seemed to have conveyed to so many.

“I should be more careful what these types of words seem to mean. We all sometimes fail because of our words, this was one of my times. I apologize. & # 39;

On Sunday, the journalist apologized for his tweets the day before, saying it was "a complex point and I was wrong to say it".

On Sunday, the journalist apologized for his tweets the day before, saying it was "a complex point and I was wrong to say it".

Eichenwald said his tweets had no "bad intentions" but admitted that they were badly judged when the comment was posted

Eichenwald said his tweets had no "bad intentions" but admitted that they were badly judged when the comment was posted

Melania, who grew up in Slovenia but became a US citizen in 2006, posted the tweet the same day the garden was revealed to reporters after more than three weeks of construction.

She said she was hoping to redesign the garden to bring it back to its original 1962 design, which goes back to the administration of John F. Kennedy.

"Preserving the history and beauty of the White House and its grounds is a testament to our nation's commitment to maintaining this landscape and our commitment to American ideals to protect it for our children and their children for generations to come," Melania said .

However, the first lady's feelings about the preservation of history did little to stop the disdain of Eichenwald, who directed a second explosive tweet at Melania on Saturday.

Eichenwald, who was the senior writer with the New York Times for two decades, wrote: “I still find it incredible that @FLOTUS, who has only been a citizen of GW Bush midway through his second term, had the audacity to close the rose garden to destroy. Withdraw history for a lifetime.

"Those trashy, bad, stupid people have to leave our house," he continued. "What GALL does she have."

The second tweet was no longer visible on Eichenwald's timeline from Sunday afternoon.

Both of the author's comments met members of the public with considerable contempt from his media peers.

Mehdi Hasan, a senior columnist for The Intercept and moderator of Al Jazeera, wrote in response to the second message, "This is a terrible attitude towards immigrants, Kurt, and you should delete it and apologize."

Hasan's admonition was confirmed by CNN host Jake Tapper, who replied to Hasan, writing, “Agree. @kurteichenwald that is xenophobic and wrong. It's bigotry. & # 39;

The public agreed, which Eichenwald exclaimed for its hypocrisy, and one user wrote, “It is restoring the original design! And somehow this would be seen as the destruction of history but not demolishing monuments and statues? She's not the one ruining our country, look in the mirror. & # 39;

In a tweet responding to a wave of criticism, Eichenwald doubled: "Someone who has only been a citizen for less than a third of their life should revere American history, honor our history, and not decide that their personal taste rips it up . & # 39;

Melania Trump has not yet responded publicly to Eichenwald's comments.

When asked by DailyMail.com, the White House declined to comment, as did the New York Times.

Born in Texas, Oakwood worked for the New York Times from 1986 to 2006. He wrote mainly about financial scandals, but then moved on to more extensive investigative reporting.

In 2000, he was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for an investigation into medical clinical trials.

He is the author of five books, one of which, The Informant, was turned into a Steven Soderbergh film with Matt Damon in 2009.

He left the Times to join Conde Nast's portfolio magazine, which lasted only two years.

Eichenwald then went to work for Vanity Fair and found out he was no longer an editor in April 2018 when he emailed conservative commentator Ben Shapiro saying that a school shooting survivor in Parkland, Florida was in need of psychiatric help need & # 39 ;.

At this point in time, Eichenwald had not appeared in the magazine's imprint for more than a year. His final track for publication ran online in 2014, according to a source from Vanity Fair.

"Kurt Eichenwald is not an editor at Vanity Fair," a spokesman for the magazine told The Hill in April 2018.

Eichenwald claimed no one had told him.

“A damn good way to find out. I've been an editor – freelancer at Vanity Fair for 6 years, "Eichenwald said in a tweet. & # 39; I live in Dallas and have not had any contact with the new editor in charge. My contract has expired and was not renewed. I called my friends there – they're all gone too. & # 39;

Eichenwald, who suffers from epilepsy, made headlines back in 2016 when he appeared on Fox News opened an animated image sent to him on Twitter in December with the message "You deserve a seizure for your posts" displayed in capital letters along with a blinding flash.

Eichenwald immediately suffered a seizure that left him unable to work for several days, lost feeling in his left hand, and, according to his lawyer, had trouble speaking for several weeks.

John Rayne Rivello, 29, was arrested at his home in Salisbury, Maryland, in March and charged with sending the electronic file. The agency charged Rivello with criminal cyberstalking with the intent to kill or cause assault.

The first lady received her fair share of negative tweets in response to her rose garden reveal, with many comparing it to a "graveyard" and a "parking lot".

The 50-year-old has also been widely admonished for uprooting the garden's historic cherry trees.

The hashtag #MarieAntoinette was trending on Saturday as some compared the first lady to the French ruler by citing her poor timing in throwing money in a garden while millions of Americans lost their jobs and got up amid the coronavirus pandemic the bread line.

Before and after, photos of the garden appeared to show a far-reaching makeover from brightly colored blooms to starkly low-key lawns, and critics accused the government of obliterating the influence of former White House residents

Before and after, photos of the garden appeared to show a far-reaching makeover from brightly colored blooms to starkly low-key lawns, and critics accused the government of obliterating the influence of former White House residents

Swaths of Americans used social media on Saturday to express their horror at the rose garden's new look. He pointed to the dramatic shift in color and blooms towards a much more minimalist design and hardly any flowers.

"The Trumps paved paradise and built a parking lot," wrote one person.

"Dried up and colorless, much like the rabble that currently lives within us," tweeted one person.

Another wrote: "What a shame, Melania took something beautiful and made it cold, colorless and boring."

Others described its new look as that of a "graveyard" next to an aerial photo of a bare lawn.

Much of the criticism has also focused on the lack of the cherry blossom trees that once lined the garden.

"And in yet another insult to George Washington and the country, Melania ordered the cherry tree cut down," one person tweeted.

They felled the cherry trees. I'm outraged. Just because you made everything white doesn't clean the inmates, another agreed.

The Americans used social media on Saturday to express their horror at the rose garden's new look. They pointed to the dramatic shift in color and blooms towards a much more minimalist design and hardly any flowers

The Americans used social media on Saturday to express their horror at the rose garden's new look. They pointed to the dramatic shift in color and blooms towards a much more minimalist design and hardly any flowers

One critic criticized the move, citing the trees' relevance to America's culture and heritage.

“Who will fall beautiful, historic cherry trees to symbolize our friendship with Japan? Tragic, ”they tweeted.

Some cited the drastic overhaul as a sign of Trump's America, saying that the multicolored flowers that were replaced with white flowers represented a lack of diversity in the White House.

“Chop down the cherry trees because they are symbols of honesty. Replace the colorful flowers because they are symbols of diversity, ”tweeted one person.

& # 39; Sidewalk installed because 45 * cannot walk on grass. I don't want it to fall into the ONLY WHITE flower bed. & # 39;

Another person added that it was "a metaphor for what Trump did to this country".

Melania's renovated rose garden is a metaphor for what Trump did to this country. Removed all the well-established beautiful things, took out all the colors and stained everything white and charged far too much to the American taxpayer to do, ”they tweeted.

The first lady, who was paid for by private donations, said she would bring the garden back to its roots and honor the original design by Bunny Mellon, made at the request of President John F. Kennedy in 1962

The first lady, who was paid for by private donations, said she would bring the garden back to its roots and honor the original design by Bunny Mellon, made at the request of President John F. Kennedy in 1962

Melania Trump and President Donald Trump planned to host a private reception for the donors on Saturday night

Melania Trump and President Donald Trump planned to host a private reception for the donors on Saturday night

Much of the criticism has also focused on the lack of the cherry blossom trees that once lined the garden and others blew the administration for obliterating the influence of former White House residents

Much of the criticism has also focused on the lack of the cherry blossom trees that once lined the garden and others blew the administration for obliterating the influence of former White House residents

Questions were also raised about a political motive for wiping out the legacy of the Trump's predecessors in the White House.

"Jackie Kennedy redesigned the rose garden and planted the trees that were removed," one person tweeted.

“I am indignant that Melania thought it appropriate to clear Jackie Kennedy's garden before they leave.

& # 39; This, of course, after Michele Obama's garden was removed. Clear history. & # 39;

Ten crab apple trees that were part of Jackie Kennedy's original design have been removed from the garden. Officials said the shadow they cast over the garden was affecting the health of the plants.

However, a White House official said the trees had been moved to a greenhouse and would be replanted in other areas of the White House lawn at a later date.

The hashtag #MarieAntoinette was also trending on Saturday as some compared the first lady to the French ruler by citing her poor timing of throwing money in a garden while millions of Americans lost their jobs and found themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic were on the bread line

The hashtag #MarieAntoinette was also trending on Saturday as some compared the first lady to the French ruler by citing her poor timing of throwing money in a garden while millions of Americans lost their jobs and found themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic were on the bread line

Aside from the physical appearance of the garden, Melania was also delighted with the look of it, exposing an expensive remodel at a time when the nation is in crisis, millions of people are unemployed, urban homelessness is growing, and more than 176,000 Americans killed by coronavirus.

The first lady was quickly nicknamed Marie Antoinette on Twitter when people compared her to the French ruler who allegedly jokingly said, "Let them eat cake" when told that their subjects did not even have bread to eat.

"The White House is not Versailles, but Melania is very much like Marie Antoinette," tweeted one person.

"I would say that in times of national turmoil, overhauling your garden is a real step by Marie Antoinette, but as far as I know Marie Antoinette didn't make the garden worse," added another.

Another wrote: “If this isn't a Marie Antionette moment, I don't know what it is. Who cares about a redesigned rose garden when we're in the middle of a pandemic, with more than 175,000 people dead and millions unemployed? & # 39;

The newly renovated garden corresponds to the personal aesthetics of the First Lady: clear lines, well-structured and soft, neutral colors

The newly renovated White House rose garden, led by First Lady Melania Trump, was unveiled on Saturday. The First Lady will speak to the Republican National Convention there on Tuesday evening

The newly renovated White House rose garden, led by First Lady Melania Trump, was unveiled on Saturday. The First Lady will speak to the Republican National Convention there on Tuesday evening

President Donald Trump speaks about the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Rose Garden on July 9, 2020 in Washington, DC

President Donald Trump speaks about the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Rose Garden on July 9, 2020 in Washington, DC

The garden was privately funded, and Melania and President Trump planned to host a private reception in the new rose garden on Saturday night for the donors, whose names will not be publicly disclosed.

The east wing declined to pay for the redesign, which also included much-needed updates such as electrical upgrades for TV appearances, new ADA-accessible walkways, and general repairs in the area.

The garden was closed for about six weeks during the renovation. It's one of the president's favorite places to hold press conferences. The garden is also used for Turkey's annual pardon, state dinners, and other official events.

White is the dominant theme of the new room, including the addition of white JFK roses in honor of President Kennedy who envisioned a large garden outside the Oval Office.

A touch of pink roses and lavender flowers add a touch of color to the diamond-shaped flower beds.

The garden was laid out with the presidency in mind, according to the first lady's office. Removing a holly ledge allows for a better view of the garden as the President walks along the colonnade from the Residence to the Oval Office on his daily walk.

Melania Trump brought the garden back to its roots - its original design by Bunny Mellon in 1962

Melania Trump brought the garden back to its roots – its original design by Bunny Mellon in 1962

White is the dominant theme of the new garden, but tiny pink roses and lavender flowers add color to the design

White is the dominant theme of the new garden, but tiny pink roses and lavender flowers add color to the design

The garden uses a diamond-shaped design in the flower beds - Bunny Mellon's preferred shape

The garden uses a diamond-shaped design in the flower beds – Bunny Mellon's preferred shape

The new limestone trails are ADA accessible

The new limestone trails are ADA accessible

Holly bushes have been removed from the area along the colonnade to give the President a better view of the garden as he walks from the residence to the Oval Office on his daily commute

Holly bushes have been removed from the area along the colonnade to give the President a better view of the garden as he walks from the residence to the Oval Office on his daily commute

During the redesign, bushes were removed to open up the colonnade area and highlight the marble columns

During the redesign, bushes were removed to open up the colonnade area and highlight the marble columns

A photo of the rose garden in April 2018 before the redesign - the crab apple trees were removed, as well as many of the bushes

A photo of the rose garden in April 2018 before the redesign – the crab apple trees were removed, as well as many of the bushes

One notable change is that Melania Trump has redesigned the portion of the garden nicknamed the "Obama Beer Summit". On July 16, 2009, then-President Barack Obama invited Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, who had been arrested at an event that sparked allegations of racial profiling, and Sgt. James Crowley, the officer who arrested him, walked in White House to discuss the situation over a couple of beers. Obama, then Vice President Joe Biden, Gates and Crowley sat at a table in the rose garden to chat.

The table has been removed and this area has been replaced with new limestone paving stones and steps. The first lady's office said it will be "the new location for an unannounced art installation".

Bunny Mellon also helped design the Jacqueline Kennedy rose garden outside the east wing

Bunny Mellon also helped design the Jacqueline Kennedy rose garden outside the east wing

Several bushes were also removed, making the room more open and larger. Removing the bushes opened up the colonnaded area and allowed for a better view of the South Lawn from the White House.

The predominant rose used in the new design is the & # 39; JFK Rose & # 39 ;, a white flower. They fill the entire length of the garden with large white rose plants known as the "Pope John Paul II Rose". These roses were picked in honor of his 1979 visit, the first visit by a Pope to the White House. There is also a selection of "Peace Roses" named to commemorate the end of World War II.

The rose plants are small now, but will grow over the years.

Additionally, the garden is seasonal – which means that the flowers change with the seasons. Tulips were predominant in spring, roses in summer, and mothers in autumn.

"Our country has had tough times before, but the White House and the Rose Garden have always been symbols of our strength, resilience and continuity," said Melania Trump when she announced the redesign earlier this summer.

The rose garden is one of President Trump's favorite places for press conferences. He speaks of the steps shown above

The rose garden is one of President Trump's favorite places for press conferences. He speaks of the steps shown above

The renovation was paid for by private donations, the names of which have not yet been published

The renovation was paid for by private donations, the names of which have not yet been published

Melania Trump and President Trump will host a donor reception in the rose garden on Saturday night. The media got a preview of the redesign on Saturday morning

Melania Trump and President Trump will host a donor reception in the rose garden on Saturday night. The media got a preview of the redesign on Saturday morning

The new plants are small at the moment but will get bigger as the season progresses - additional plants can be added in the open spaces to keep the garden seasonal

The new plants are small at the moment but will get bigger as the season progresses – additional plants can be added in the open spaces to keep the garden seasonal

The rose garden was created at the request of President John F. Kennedy. The renovations included much-needed updates such as providing the ADA paths and laying cables for television appearances

The rose garden was created at the request of President John F. Kennedy. The renovations included much-needed updates such as providing the ADA paths and laying cables for television appearances

The garden was closed for about six weeks due to construction

The garden was closed for about six weeks due to construction

Melania Trump, who brought the rose garden back to its Kennedy roots, often cites Jackie Kennedy as her inspiration as a first lady

Melania Trump, who brought the rose garden back to its Kennedy roots, often cites Jackie Kennedy as her inspiration as a first lady

Melania Trump and President Trump will travel to the Rose Garden for the National Day of Prayer in May 2019

Melania Trump and President Trump will travel to the Rose Garden for the National Day of Prayer in May 2019

The pre-renovation of the rose garden when President Trump held a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic in March

The pre-renovation of the rose garden when President Trump held a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic in March

President John F. Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden

President John F. Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden

Melania did many renovation projects in the east wing during her tenure. She oversaw the redesign of the White House bowling alley, refreshed the decorations in the public spaces on the State Floor – the Green Room, the Blue Room and the Red Room – and installed a tennis pavilion on the White House grounds.

The White House Rose Garden – an area that is 125 feet long by 60 feet wide – is in front of the Oval Office in the west wing of the Executive Mansion. It is maintained by the National Park Service.

Presidents have used the garden for a variety of events including the announcement of Supreme Court judges, press conferences, state dinners, and the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon. Tricia Nixon was married in the rose garden on June 12, 1971.

It was first erected by Edith Wilson in 1913 on an earlier garden laid out by Edith Roosevelt in 1902. Before that, the area was home to the White House stables and later a garden where food was grown for the first family.

Bunny Mellon made the garden diamond-shaped - she placed hedges around flowering plants

Bunny Mellon made the garden diamond-shaped – she placed hedges around flowering plants

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan held a state dinner for President Evren in the Rose Garden

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan held a state dinner for President Evren in the Rose Garden

Guests in the rose garden for the Trump State Dinner in September 2019 for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Guests in the rose garden for the Trump State Dinner in September 2019 for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon attend daughter Tricia Nixon's wedding in the White House Rose Garden in 1971

President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon attend daughter Tricia Nixon's wedding in the White House Rose Garden in 1971

In 1961, Mellon redesigned the garden area at the request of President Kennedy. Known for her personal gardens on her Virginia estate, Mellon laid out a clearer central lawn bordered by flower beds that were French-style but used American plants. Roses make up the majority of the flowers in bloom, but the garden also contains jonquille, daffodil, fritillaria, grape hyacinth, tulips, chionodoxa, and squil.

Mellon died in 2014, but she told the Historic Association of the White House in 1983 that after his state visit to France, President Kennedy had asked them to renovate the area outside the Oval Office to create the equivalent of the gardens he had seen in Europe.

The President had determined that the White House did not have a garden comparable in quality or attractiveness to the gardens he had seen and maintained in Europe. It was there that he recognized the importance of gardens around an official residence and their attraction to the sensibility of all people, ”she remarked.

She cited magnolia trees as her original inspiration and planted one in each of the four corners of the garden. She left the center lawn open for events, but installed a 12-foot border for smaller trees, roses, and other flowers. President Kennedy loved flowers and requested species that were used in Thomas Jefferson's day.

With a diamond shape, she boxed in flowering plants between hedges and set up the garden so that a rotation of plants would bloom in spring, summer and fall.

Mellon, a noted philanthropist, designed the steps leading from the Oval Office to the garden, either as steps or as a stage. At the east end of the garden is a stone slab that the President can use for private lunches or outdoor meetings.

She remembered the ups and downs of the project, including how one day when we were removing the old soil and replacing it with new one, we cut into a mysterious cable buried in a corner of the garden. It turned out to be the hotline that set off the nation's military alert. & # 39; The line had been hastily installed for the use of President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II.

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in March 2016

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in March 2016

President Trump held many events in the rose garden during the coronavirus pandemic because it is easier to maintain social distance standards

President Trump held many events in the rose garden during the coronavirus pandemic because it is easier to maintain social distance standards

Turkey's annual pardon is held in the Rose Garden of the White House, as shown above with President Bill Clinton

Turkey's annual pardon is held in the Rose Garden of the White House, as shown above with President Bill Clinton

Rachel Lambert & # 39; Bunny & # 39; Mellon looks out over her yard in her Virginia home

Rachel Lambert & # 39; Bunny & # 39; Mellon looks out over her yard in her Virginia home

There have been changes in the planting since the rose garden was unveiled in 1962, but Mellon's original design has largely been retained.

Various administrations have made their contributions, such as B. Stone paths, new trees and additional flowering plants.

Mellon was also called in during Lyndon Johnson's presidency to work on a garden outside the east wing that would eventually become the Jacqueline Kennedy Rose Garden.

In 1981, Nancy Reagan asked Mellon to return to the garden to update the plants and design.

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