The completion comes as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take over the White House on January 20th. And it follows Melania Trump’s other major restoration project: a refurbishment of the White House Rose Garden.
But it also comes as coronavirus cases are on the rise in the United States and unemployment, sick leave and housing aid are set to expire in weeks as Congress and Trump administration have been unable to complete another round of COVID relief legislation.
The pavilion project included the refurbishment of the White House Tennis Court and Grandchildren’s Garden along with construction of the new building, the first lady’s office noted in its announcement.
Photos provided by the White House show a new structure that replaced an older storage shed. It resembles a mini-White House and seating areas can be seen through the windows. The white table cloths and chairs resemble those one would find in a country club.
Melania Trump announced the completion of the White House tennis pavilion
A before photo of the pavilion shows the old structure the first lady had replaced
Melania Trump has called the tennis pavilion her legacy project; it was funded by private donors
The completion of the tennis pavilion follows the first lady’s other restoration project: the White House Rose Garden
President Barack Obama has the tennis court converted into a basketball court
President Barack Obama, along with Cabinet Secretaries and Members of Congress, play on the court in an October 2009 game
The building’s resemblance to the White House was planned, the East Wing said, in order to have the structure blend into the existing ones on the 18 acres of White House grounds. The design was inspired by the East and West Wings of the executive mansion and includes a colonnade, parapet wall, and fanlight windows.
President Barack Obama had turned the tennis court into one also suitable for basketball so he could indulge in his favorite sport. Melania Trump took it back to its tennis roots.
The cost was taken care of by private donations, which the East Wing has not publicly named nor said how much it came to.
The pavilion sits near Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden on the South Lawn and is not open to the public.
Planning for the project began in 2018 and Melania Trump formally broke ground on it in October of last year.
‘I am pleased to announce the completion of the Tennis Pavilion on the White House grounds. Thank you to all of the talented craftsmen who made this project possible and to the generous supporters of the White House,’ Melania Trump said in a statement on Monday. ‘It is my hope that this private space will function as both a place of leisure and gathering for future First Families.’
The first lady was accused of being tone deaf back in March when she provided an update on the construction. At the time, the coronavirus was beginning to spread more heavily and there was talk a lock down would be needed.
And Melania Trump snapped back at the online trolls who accused her of having a Marie Antoinette moment during the incident.
She had posted an update on her Twitter account about construction being done on the White House tennis court, which included photos of her looking at construction plans and wearing a hard hat.
‘I am excited to share the progress of the Tennis Pavillion at @WhiteHouse. Thank you to the talented team for their hard work and dedication,’ she wrote.
Melania Trump snapped back at online trolls who accused her of having a Marie Antoinette moment during the Coronavirus outbreak in March when she gave an update on the tennis pavilion’s construction
At the time, she had not spoken publicly about the coronavirus and was accused of being thoughtless during the scare and while Tennessee suffered from being hit by tornados.
’29 people were killed by a tornado in Tennessee, the world is shuddering as a pandemic expands and what is a tennis pavilion?,’ wrote actress Mia Farrow.
One user wrote: ‘This is the most extraordinary thing to tweet in the midst of an epidemic. You really are amazingly out of touch with real live people.’
Other Twitter users posted photos of actress Kirsten Dunst from the movie ‘Marie Antoinette,’ with sayings that included ‘Let them Eat Cake’ and ‘Ugh, peasants.’
Melania snapped back.
‘I encourage everyone who chooses to be negative & question my work at the @WhiteHouse to take time and contribute something good & productive in their own communities. #BeBest,’ she tweeted in response.
The first lady has 16.4 million followers on Twitter.
It is not the first time Melania Trump has been accused of being tone deaf.
The most infamous was in June of 2018, when she wore a jacket that read ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ during a trip to the Texas border to visit migrant children being held and separated from their families.
Melania Trump announced the building of the tennis pavilion in October, calling it her ‘legacy project’
The first lady has been accused in the past of being tone deaf in the past, such as in June 2018 when she wore a ‘I really don’t care, do u’ jacket during a visit to children being held on the border
Melania Trump posted an update to the White House tennis project in March and was accused of being insensitive during the Coronavirus outbreak
The first lady has called the pavilion her ‘legacy piece.’
‘I am pleased to announce the ground breaking of a new tennis pavilion on the White House grounds. This structure will be a testament to American craftsmanship and skill,’ she wrote on Twitter in October when she announced the project’s construction.
‘It is my hope that this private space will function as a place to gather and spend leisure time for First Families,’ she added.
Her posts included photos of her with a shovel, doing a ceremonial ground breaking and shaking hands with a group of people, who were presumed to be private donors to the project.
A planning permit for the pavilion describes it as approximately 1,200 square feet, made of limestone and with a ‘copper roof.’