American Elephants


Saving a Historic Tree at the White House. by The Elephant's Child

The headline in Newsweek magazine read “Melania Trump orders removal of the near-200-year old tree from the White House.” Misleading headline ripe for seeming to be an attack on the First Lady.

The huge Jackson Magnolia, reportedly planted by President Andrew Jackson from a sprout at his Tennessee home two hundred years ago, has become badly damaged and the steel cables that hold it up are failing. Like other living things, trees get old and die.

Experts at the National Arboretum said the tree needs to be radically trimmed. Melania Trump reviewed the findings and agreed to the cutback. She noted that visitors and journalists often stand under the tree during White House events, especially during the liftoff of Marine One.  The wood from the tree will be preserved, and the White House groundskeepers have been growing offshoots of the tree that are now somewhere around eight to ten feet tall. One of those seedlings will eventually be planted in place of the historic tree.

There’s a lesson here about headlines, and some credit due to Melania Trump who ordered the right thing in response to expert opinion. Here’s the tree in 1918.

 




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