Facing criticism from Congress, First Lady pledges tours will resume in March.
After pressure from lawmakers, First Lady Melania Trump announced on Tuesday the White House would reopen to the public in early March, nearly seven weeks after her husband Donald became president.
White House tours are highly popular with visitors to Washington, a perk arranged by members of Congress for their constituents and foreign embassies for their nationals. Some members of Congress had begun complaining about the long delay in restarting tours that had been suspended since Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Melania Trump said the public tours would resume March 7 of the 224-year-old White House. “I am excited to reopen the White House to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come each year. The White House is a remarkable and historic site and we are excited to share its beauty and history,” she said in a brief statement.
The first lady, who plans to continue living at the Trump Tower in New York until their 10-year-old son Baron finishes the school year, stressed her dedication to the White House. “I am committed to the restoration and preservation of our nation’s most recognizable landmark,” she said.
The unusually long White House closure had irked a number of lawmakers, whose constituents were unhappy about the lack of public access.
On Sunday, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley rang the Twitter alarm. “Whoever monitors twitter at WH for businessman president Trump ‘when is WH going to be opened for public tours?’ Mrs G wants to know,” Grassley tweeted.
A group of two-dozen lawmakers circulated a letter to the White House on Monday, asking the same question. “This time-honored tradition of allowing visitors into the White House was started by Thomas Jefferson in 1805,” the letter said, according to The Washington Post. “Previous administrations have been quick to reopen the White House doors to the public, even doing so the day after the Inauguration.”