Inside President Joe Biden's 'Day One' Oval Office: He Wanted a Space 'That Looked Like America'

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Jen Juneau
·3 min read
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Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock President Joe Biden's Oval Office

President Joe Biden's newly redecorated Oval Office is a salute to America.

Deputy Director of Oval Office Operations Ashley Williams gave The Washington Post an exclusive tour of Biden's official new digs, which includes an extensive number of paintings and busts featuring the likenesses of influential past presidents and other figures who have made huge strides throughout American history.

"This Oval is an Oval for Day One," Williams told the Post, adding, "It was important for President Biden to walk into an Oval that looked like America and started to show the landscape of who he is going to be as president."

In photos shared by the Post of their exclusive tour — which occurred Wednesday following the Oval Office's redecorating, after former President Donald Trump's morning departure from the White House — busts of notable figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez can be seen.

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Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock President Joe Biden's Oval Office

Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock President Joe Biden's Oval Office

Chip Somodevilla/Getty President Joe Biden's Oval Office

Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty President Joe Biden's Oval Office

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While portraits of former presidents like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln adorn the walls (as well as of other notable people involved in the country's founding, like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton), gone is the portrait of the controversial Andrew Jackson that hung in the office of Trump, 74.

The Resolute Desk used by Trump and many previous presidents was left unchanged, but Biden's Oval Office also saw the removal of military flags behind the desk and a bust of Winston Churchill, with the addition of an American flag and a flag with a presidential seal.

Biden selected a dark-blue rug that was in the room when Bill Clinton was in office, as well as drapes in a darker shade of gold than what Trump used and pieces of furniture (e.g., tables and sofas) from the White House collection.

Other touches include several bookcases and a horse-and-rider sculpture by the Chiricahua Apache tribe's Allan Houser. The statue once belonged to the first Japanese American elected to both houses of Congress, the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock President Joe Biden's Oval Office

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Joe Biden's first day as president was full of traditional ceremonies and events in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Seemingly as a final farewell, Trump left a letter for Biden in the Resolute Desk before vacating the White House and departing for West Palm Beach, Florida, Wednesday morning.

Signing executive orders in the Oval Office after being sworn in, Biden also confirmed that Trump had left him a note, telling reporters, "The president wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him. But, uh, it was generous."

In departure remarks to his supporters, Trump did not mention Biden by name on Wednesday, instead focusing on his administration's achievements before telling a crowd including most of his children, "Have a good life. We will see you soon."

CNN reported that former First Lady Melania Trump also left a "short note of welcome" for Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden.