Most keep an eye on what’s happening inside the office — what agreements are made, what policies are announced and which foreign dignitaries stop by. But with every inch of the space on display, US presidents, their families and their staffs also meticulously choose which pieces of art are installed, what furniture is hauled in, and even which tchotchkes are placed on shelves.
Here’s how Biden has chosen to change the Oval Office.
Chavez sought to bring awareness to the harsh conditions of farmworkers in the US and fight for better wages. The prominent inclusion of his bust in the West Wing came the same day that Biden proposed immigration legislation that would allow undocumented farmworkers to qualify to apply for green cards immediately.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the labor leader’s granddaughter, is Biden’s director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The oil painting, created in 1917, was also in the Oval Office during the Obama and Clinton administrations.
Though not entirely visible to television cameras, the Post reported that “busts of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy flank a fireplace in the office” — in an apparent nod to their efforts in the civil rights movement. There are also busts of Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and an Allan Houser sculpture depicting a horse and Chiricahua Apache rider. The sculpture, the Post said, once belonged to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Democrat representing Hawaii.
The Post report says other parts of the office now feature paintings of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton and a bust of Daniel Webster, a former senator who defended the Union. A bust of Winston Churchill has been removed from display.
On the Resolute Desk
There were two sets of objects spotted on the Resolute Desk when Biden took office that definitely reflect a transition of power: a cup and saucer set, as well as a box of pens to sign the orders.
The Bidens selected at least two Clinton-era furnishings to replace Trump’s selections — a blue Oval Office rug with a floral trim and darker gold curtains, according to the Post. Other items, which may look familiar, were chosen from the White House collection, the Post says.
Flags of the US military branches, which Trump originally added to the decor of the room, have been removed.
Photographs behind the President typically displayed on the credenza were switched out to feature Biden’s family. Many of the images show just how large the President’s family is, and the images include many of the family members who accompanied him in Washington on Inauguration Day. At least one photograph features his late son, Beau.
Trump’s Challenge Coin collection, often placed on the credenza, is gone as well.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to accurately reflect where the portrait of Benjamin Franklin was loaned from. It was from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.