What a photo of Trump’s new office reveals about how he wants to be remembered

POLITICO decided to do its own deep dive into Trump’s office, with the help of four former White House officials. Here’s our best reported effort to figure out which mementos the 45th president chose to keep around him in his new Florida life — and what it says about how he views his legacy.

What are the photos on his wall?

Photo of Air Force One over Washington: The West Wing in the White House has long featured a number of blown-up “jumbo” photos and this is one of Air Force One flying over Washington near the Ellipse and the White House in the backdrop on July 4th, 2020 as part of the “Salute to America.” Trump paid close attention to his presidential airplane, adding more television screens and ordering up a new color scheme to replace the jet’s iconic baby blue.

Photo of Marine One at Mount Rushmore: Trump held a July 4 event last year at Mount Rushmore, and this photo of his presidential helicopter flying in front of Mount Rushmore memorializes the event. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem gave Trump a $1,100 replica of the monument featuring Trump’s own face among the ex-presidents, but he appears to be missing here.

Anything interesting on his desk?

Newspaper: Before the picture was taken, Trump seems to have been leafing through the Wall Street Journal, a paper whose editorial board has criticized him for promoting false claims on voter fraud. Trump also issued a statement last month blasting the editors, saying: “The Wall Street Journal editorial page continues, knowingly, to fight for globalist policies such as bad trade deals, open borders, and endless wars that favor other countries and sell out our great American workers, and they fight for RINOS that have so badly hurt the Republican Party. That’s where they are and that’s where they will always be. Fortunately, nobody cares much about The Wall Street Journal editorial anymore.”

Desk: While Trump couldn’t take the 141-year old Resolute Desk from the Oval Office, he now has a similar-looking desk that appears to be the Telluride Wood Executive Desk from “Hooker Furniture.” The desk currently retails for $3,600 but is currently out of stock until late next month.

Chair: Trump used the same chair in the Oval Office, which he brought down from New York, according to a former White House official.

The infamous Sharpie: Trump also has at least one big black Sharpie — the fat, marker-like pen that he has wielded for years to write and autograph items for friends and allies, and occasionally to mark up critical articles he didn’t like and send it to the offending journalist.

Reading glasses: Trump is famously image-conscious and didn’t like to be seen wearing his reading glasses while in office, and few news photographers snapped pictures of him wearing them. The New York Times reported in 2019 that Trump often didn’t tweet when other people were around because he didn’t want to have to wear glasses to see his phone screen. Dan Scavino, his longtime social media expert, often printed out suggested tweets in large fonts so Trump could sign off on them.

Bottle of Coke: Trump, a long-time Diet Coke fanatic, appears to have a half-drunk glass bottle of Coke next to his phone even though he urged Americans to boycott Coca Cola, based in Georgia, for criticizing Georgia’s new law that restricts voting. In a statement last Saturday, Trump said: “Boycott Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck. Don’t go back to their products until they relent. We can play the game better than them.”

Plaque commemorating the border wall: The former president has a plaque marking his U.S.-Mexico border wall that was one of his main 2016 campaign promises. While Trump had promised a “big beautiful wall,” only 80 miles of new wall were built during his time in office out of a total of 452 miles of the wall built on his watch. The U.S. Border Patrol plaque praises Trump for “defending America’s borders.”

iPhone: Trump loved his iPhone, which he most famously used to tweet at all hours of the day to call up his friends that were part of his kitchen cabinet. Such calls often annoyed his aides, who fretted about what he was saying to his confidants.

WOODEN BOX: The box, which contains a custom-built handcrafted pocket knife, was given to Trump last week and features Trump’s name and the presidential seal on the top of it, as well as the phrase: “The Greatest President Ever to Serve America.” It was presented to Trump by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) and built by Jason Tippy, owner of knives and cutlery maker Tippy Customs of Louisiana, Tippy told POLITICO. Inside the box, an inscription reads: “Mr. President: This blade represents the 100 million strong Band of Brothers who stand ready, with sharpened skills, to preserve our great Republic.”

What about those tables in the back?

Challenge coins rack: Challenge coins are coins often given to a recipient by a part or branch of the military, and they represent that division of the military. As president, Trump, who frequently extolled his buildup of the military, received numerous challenge coins. Trump also displayed these same challenge coins in the Oval Office.

Mug: Trump has kept a white mug with the presidential seal.

A statue of himself: No sources knew the provenance of this mini-bust of Trump, and a Trump spokesperson didn’t share any details about it when asked about it. A former senior White House official said it was “most likely a gift that was sent in. We’d get tons of those — paintings, statues, etc.”

Family photos: The photos are mostly photos that were also on the desk behind him in the Oval Office. Clockwise: his late father Fred Trump; Trump in a tuxedo; his children Eric, Ivanka, and Don Jr. in the back of Winfield House (the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the U.K.) when Trump went to the U.K. in June 2019; wife Melania Trump; Trump’s late mother Mary Anne MacLeod Trump; Trump and an unidentified other person walking in the West Wing Colonnade and an unidentified other photo. In the very middle of the desk is Trump with son Barron in New York, likely at Trump Tower. Trump only kept a few photos behind his desk for the first few years of his term, but then in the last 18 months, a number of photos were added, according to a former White House official.

Lamps: The former White House official said the lamps are likely Mar-a-Lago lamps based on the decor of the resort.


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