Criticism of Melania Trump's Red 'Handmaid's Tale' Christmas Trees Surprises Florist

Vickie Wenstrup, a florist who helped with White House holiday decorations, was shocked to see the social media reaction to the red trees in the East hallway.

On Thursday, the White House shared a video of the decorations donning the halls of the White House for the holidays. Among the decorations were a 45 trees, varying in size but all red in color. Critics of the décor specifically homed in on the red tree-lined hallway. One person put hats from The Handmaid's Tale on top of the trees and others labeled it “creepy,” “a nightmare,” and “deeply haunted.”

Wenstrup, from Amelia, Ohio, told WCMH that the reactions surprised her and were “horrible.” She added that she wasn’t sure who first said it or why they said it, but shared that the first article she saw on Google was “Melania Trump covers the White House in blood for Christmas.”

Trump’s team was responsible for conceptualizing the design, but Wenstrup said she thought it was possible the inspiration was the holly topiary trees in the garden outside the hallway’s windows, which was designed by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The trees actually aren’t trees at all but were made out of Styrofoam and cranberry clusters.

Wenstrup and the rest of her team were responsible for individually pinning cranberry clusters onto 45 Styrofoam cone bases, ensuring that the base was completely covered so the Styrofoam didn’t show.

"I was relieved that we got it done,” Wenstrup told WLWT. “It was a miracle, in my eyes, because the amount of work that had to go into it to get done in three days."

melania trump red trees christmas white house More than 40 red topiary trees line the East colonnade as part of the holiday decorations at the White House on Monday in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The florist explained that her team was the last to finish and that it was a close call. Trump was set to view it at 7:00 p.m. EST and they were still working around 5:00 p.m. EST. While not everyone was a fan of the trees, Wenstrup said she thought they were “beautifully done” and loved that every room had its own flare.

Wenstrup wasn’t alone in seeing the beauty of the trees and Trump defended her decorating decision during an interview with CRTV host Eric Bolling.  

“We are in [the] 21st century and everybody has a different taste,” Trump said. “I think they look fantastic. I hope everybody will come over and visit it. In real life, they look even more beautiful.”

Wenstrup’s husband put together a portfolio for his wife, gathered recommendations and completed her application unbeknownst to her. The news that she was selected was a surprise, and following the whirlwind decorating trip, Wenstrup posted a photo of herself with one of the trees on Facebook and called the experience a “blessing.”

“I can't even begin to tell you how overwhelming it was to realize that I was working in a hallway and sitting on a floor knowing that so many very important people and guests have walked this very floor,” Wenstrup wrote on Facebook. “My heart was so full of pride and excitement!”

The theme of this year’s holiday decorations was “American Treasures” and honored the “unique heritage of America,” Trump said in a statement. Along with the red trees, the White House was decorated with the traditional Gold Star Family tree and three tables showing replicas of state dinners over the years.

“Our theme honors the heart and spirit of the American people,” Trump said. “Thank you to the many volunteers and staff who worked hard to decorate the halls of the People’s House in Christmas cheer.” 

Join the Discussion