Oval Office gets makeover - and new bling

2017-01-21 08:35
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Oval Office. (Jim Watson, AFP)

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the Oval Office. (Jim Watson, AFP)

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Washington - It took just a few hours for President Donald Trump to give the Oval Office a makeover, including some fresh gold trim.

There were changes from floor to ceiling as the White House brought reporters into the Oval Office on Friday evening for the first time since Trump became president at noon. He was signing an executive order and other paperwork in his first major acts as president.

Gone was the giant, circular "quote rug" that took up most of the room when Barack Obama was in charge, featuring quotes attributed to former presidents lining the perimeter. It was replaced by a golden rug with garland edges that appeared to be the same design as the "sunburst" rug George W Bush had when he was president.

The curtains, crimson only hours before, are gold now, too. Some of the furniture appeared to be different, although Trump kept the Resolute Desk that presidents have used for decades.

A famed Winston Churchill bust, long a thorn in Obama's side, was back. Obama had been criticised for removing the bust depicting the beloved British prime minister. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson once asserted Obama had returned the bust to the British Embassy in a snub to the close US ally.

But Obama said he'd merely moved it to make room for a bust of Martin Luther King jnr. Obama said Churchill's figure was on display prominently outside his private office, where he could see it every day.

The MLK bust remained in the Oval Office on Friday. Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer tweeted a photo of it sitting on a small wooden desk in the Oval Office, and said White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had taken the photo.

A president has wide latitude to decorate his office and the executive mansion as he sees fit. Congress generally approves funds to replace aging furnishings and keep the building looking sharp. A president can also use his own funds on furnishings if he desires.

Most presidents use rugs and furnishings already in the White House collection, according to the White House Historical Association. The collection also has an extensive array of art, and presidents often borrow art from museums or galleries.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  us

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