Part of historic Magnolia tree planted by President Andrew Jackson to be removed, White House says

A portion of a historic Magnolia tree planted by President Andrew Jackson centuries ago will be removed due to a safety risk, the White House announced Tuesday.

Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, said the first lady came to the decision after reviewing reports from the U.S. National Arboretum about the tree’s weakened condition.

“She trusted that every effort had been made to preserve the historic tree,” Grisham said in a statement to Fox News, adding, the first lady “was concerned about the safety of visitors and members of the press who are often standing right in front of the tree during Marine One lifts.”

Jackson added the Magnolia to the White House grounds in 1835, according to the White House Historical Association. It stands on the west side of the South Portico, opposite a second Magnolia that subsequently was planted for symmetry.

The first lady requested that the wood from the iconic tree be preserved and seedlings be readily available if there is an opportunity to plant a new Magnolia in the same place.

The removal is planned for this week while President Donald Trump and his family are in Mar-A-Lago for Christmas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.