The Oval Office is one of the most recognizable symbols of the presidency, but its decor can change drastically from administration to administration.
Each holder of the office changes everything from the furniture to the rug to the drapery to fit their personal tastes and preferences, and often to send a symbolic message.
A few things remain fairly constant. The Resolute Desk, given as a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880, is the most iconic fixture. Behind it, are invariably two flags: the stars and stripes of the United States, and the presidential flag, with its heraldic bald eagle on a blue background.
When Donald Trump became the 45th President, he brought with him his taste for decorative excess. Out went Barack Obama’s muted maroon curtains, replaced with distinctive Trump gold. The understated beige couches were replaced with embroidered gold ones. This is all very Trumpian, but it wouldn’t normally raise any eyebrows.
But then there’s the number of flags.
Trump’s office display includes no less than three American flags and three identical presidential flags. In addition, Trump has placed the flags of all of the armed services around the office, each topped with its distinctive array of battle streamers dating back to the Revolutionary War.
Altogether, that’s eleven flagpoles dotted around the famously circular wall, only a handful of which are displayed in the above photo.
Presidential historians note that more than one each of the American and presidential flag is a first.
Although the battle flags are rare, their use is not unprecedented. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for example, kept an Army flag in the Oval Office. Think of it a sentimental journal for one of the few five-star generals of the army, and the only to ever serve as president.
And only two Presidents appear to have ever displayed flags from all of the services in their office: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
(Photo of the Oval Office of the White House as seen after renovations including new wallpaper on August 22, 2017, in Washington, by Alex Wong/Getty Images.)