What’s the One Major Design Difference in President Trump’s Oval Office?

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
August 26, 2017Politics
What’s the One Major Design Difference in President Trump’s Oval Office?
President Donald Trump with Saad Hariri, prime minister of Lebanon, in the Oval Office. (Zach Gibson/Pool/Getty Images)

After a remodeling, President Donald Trump’s Oval Office brought military flags back to prominence. Modern U.S. presidents rarely display military flags in their offices. The only ones in recent times to have them there are the administrations of Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson. They form a distinctive design feature of this administration’s Oval Office.

Most of the other modern presidents have used only two flags. They usually place them behind the desk. They are the U.S. flag and the flag with the presidential seal, to let you know who sits at that desk, as Independent Journal Review reported.

Trump has three U.S. flags interspersed between three presidential flags, and then there are flags representing the branches of military. In case it’s not clear from the supplied photos, wrapping around the other side of the Oval Office are five flags representing each of the five branches of military: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

The military flags are adorned with battle streamers, representing the campaigns that those particular branches of the military were involved in. In the photos, the battle streamers almost obscure half the flag they hang from.

Presidents are frequently around military flags in their presidential duties. They usually stand in meeting rooms and on some stages that a president finds himself on.

The Oval Office was birthed during the administration of William Taft. Taft had the West Wing expanded and remodeled. He had the Oval Office built as the primary office of the president. Taft set the office in the middle of the West Wing, so as to be at the center of activity for the executive branch.

There was already the oval-shaped Blue Room before the Oval Office. Above that, there is the Yellow Oval Room. The Blue Room is where the president usually receives guests. The Yellow Room is used for more formal and more private receptions. The Oval Office added to this theme of the architectural distinction of the White House.

George Washington used oval rooms in his home to host guests. The oval room allowed him to be at the center and have no guests be in a corner. It allowed them to be positioned an equal distance from him, and it came to be a symbol of democracy, according to The White House Museum.

The modern Oval Office was completed in 1934. It was moved from its original location during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. He had it expanded to accommodate additional staff.

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