Melania orders to remove Jackson Magnolia tree for visitors, press people’s safety

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Melania Trump arrives at the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Francois Lenoir

US First Lady Melania Trump has reportedly decided to remove a portion of the historic Jackson Magnolia tree on the south facade of the White House due to concerns about the safety of visitors and members of the press. The tree was said to be too damaged to remain standing.

According to an exclusive report by CNN, the FLOTUS came up with the decision after she assessed all historical documents and professional information. Stephanie Grisham, her communications director, told the news organisation that US President Donald Trump’s wife personally reviewed reports from the United States National Arboretum.

Melania, Grisham said, spoke with her staff about “exploring every option before making the decision.” The spokeswoman added that the first lady has trusted that all efforts had been made to preserve the tree, and that she was concerned about the safety of visitors and press people who usual standing in front of the tree during Marine One lifts.

The US National Arboretum, which has been called in by the White House for a consultation, said the Jackson Magnolia tree is too damaged to stay. The FLOTUS requested that the wood from the historic tree be preserved.

CNN has obtained documents, in which specialists suggested that the tree has to be removed. There have been efforts to preserve it for several decades.

The documents stated that the overall structure and architecture of the tree is greatly compromised. It was said to be totally depended on artificial support. The documents suggest that the extensive cabling system has prevented the tree from falling and without it, 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,” the documents read in part. It adds that it was hard to forecast when and how much more will fail.

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

According to historians, Jackson's wife Rachel died days after his election. It was believed that he decided to plant a sprout from his wife’s favourite magnolia tree from the couple's farm, Hermitage, in Tennessee when he took up residence in the White House after his inauguration. It eventually grew into the historic magnolia the public has come to know.