Now Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America, people are examining how the Oval Office in the White House looks like a comparison to when Donald Trump was the President. The variations, like you, could have anticipated, are like night and day. And they’re sending very mixed messages about the sort of America that Biden wants to create.
Where Trump had military flags, a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, and a bust of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Biden opted for portraits of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Alexander Hamilton. Biden also put up busts of Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez.
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“Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson famously disagreed on almost everything, but they both were patriots with the best interest of America in mind. Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King (who are also prominently featured in the Oval) never held elected office, but they pushed leaders to take action. So I think the message is that you don’t have to agree with everyone all the time, nor do you have to be President, a member of Congress, or even a local elected official to make a difference. Being a citizen is enough,” Rubin explained to Bored Panda what Biden is telling both America, and the entire world.
In Rubin’s opinion, the “most striking” symbolic difference between Trump and Biden’s versions of the Oval Office is Joe replacing Andrew Jackson’s portrait with Ben Franklin’s. “Jackson, who rose to the Presidency via the first wave of nativism and populism, is someone Trump always identified with. Franklin, however, was famous for his scientific tinkering, his inventions, and his help laying the foundation for our constitutional republic. To me, it’s a sign that Biden will trust science and allow it to lead during this pandemic, but also work to preserve our great Republic that Franklin helped to build.”
Rubin also opened up about how he’s feeling cautiously optimistic about the new administration. However, this doesn’t mean that the US will become magically different overnight. “Realistically, I don’t think Biden will be able to accomplish everything progressives want him to, but I also think he’ll be able to accomplish more than conservatives would want him to. So I’m hopeful we’ll be able to make strong progress on a host of issues, but managing expectations will be a challenge for this administration as they tackle numerous crises simultaneously.”