2017-12-28 00:25:42 UTC
A routine event, but Newsweek uses a very pejorative
headline, and only later fills in the reasons.
MELANIA TRUMP ORDERS REMOVAL OF NEAR-200-YEAR-OLD TREE FROM WHITE HOUSE
BY SYDNEY PEREIRA ON 12/26/17 AT 9:51 AM
Updated | The historic Jackson magnolia has been on the south facade of
the White House since the 1800s—making it the oldest on the grounds. But
Tuesday, Melania Trump reportedly made the decision to have it removed
after tree specialists determined “the overall architecture and
structure of the tree is greatly compromised,” the report stated,
according to CNN.
CNN obtained documents from specialists at the United States National
Arboretum, which determined the magnolia tree must be removed. The tree
is “completely dependent on artificial support,” the document read.
The document said, “Without the extensive cabling system, the tree would
have fallen years ago. Presently, and very concerning, the cabling
system is failing on the east trunk, as a cable has pulled through the
very thin layer of wood that remains. It is difficult to predict when
and how many more will fail.”
A White House official told CNN that the first lady made the decision
after reviewing and assessing professional information and historical
documents. “Mrs. Trump personally reviewed the reports from the United
States National Arboretum and spoke at length with her staff about
exploring every option before making the decision to remove a portion of
the magnolia tree,” Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham,
told CNN. “After reviewing the reports, she trusted that every effort
had been made to preserve the historic tree and was concerned about the
safety of visitors and members of the press, who are often standing
right in front of the tree during Marine One lifts.”
The tree was about to fall, and experts recommended its removal. Mrs.
Trump, according to Grisham, has requested to preserve the wood from the
The tree is expected to be removed later this week. White House
groundskeepers were prepared for the tree’s demise, however, and
offshoots of the original Jackson magnolia have been growing nearby.
They are around 8 to 10 feet tall and will be planted in the original
tree’s place, according to CNN.
Documentation reviewed by CNN revealed the Jackson magnolia has had
apparent damage as far as five decades back. Three trunks of the tree
grew from the base—tangling together in a mess of shared bark. One of
those trunks was removed, leaving an exposed cavity that was filled with
cement. Back in the 1970s, this was the standard procedure in this
circumstance. The concrete, however, permanently damaged the tree. By
1981, a large pole and cable system were installed and still hold up the