Melania Trump orders White House tree from 1800s to be cut down

The tree is too damaged and being removed on the advice of the National Arboretum

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 26 December 2017 20:17
Comments
President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania Trump attend the 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting held by the National Park Service at the White House Ellipse.
President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania Trump attend the 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting held by the National Park Service at the White House Ellipse.

First Lady Melania Trump has ordered that a tree on White House grounds from the 1800s be cut down.

The Jackson Magnolia tree located on the west side of the building is too damaged to stay, according to specialists from the US National Arboretum called in by the White House for a consultation.

CNN reported that "the overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support."

The tree is currently held up by an "extensive cabling system" according to documents issued by the agency.

However, some of the cable has begun to pull through the wood, comprising the structure of the tree.

Ms 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," White House Communications Director Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

She said: "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."

It is the oldest tree on White House grounds, planted during in 1828 during the administration of former President Andrew Jackson.

He had taken the magnolia sprout from the family farm in Tennessee as a tribute to his recently deceased wife Rachel.

The stately tree reaches past the second-floor residence of the Trump family and is one of three plants on the west side of the building.

The National Arboretum said in the documents obtained by CNN that if it were not for the particular history of the tree, it would have been cleared several years ago.

"All measures have been used to save it to this point in time...While we cannot comment on the need to preserve the tree as long as it stands, we believe eventually, the tree will fail," the report said.

The network reported that another magnolia tree will be planted in its place after it is removed later this week. The wood will be preserved at Ms Trump's request.

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