“Thank you to all of the talented craftsmen who made this project possible and to the generous supporters of the White House,” the first lady said in a White House press release. “It is my hope that this private space will function as both a place of leisure and gathering for future First Families.”
Critics called the first lady insensitive when she shared images of the project’s progress in March, as COVID-19 was just beginning to take hold in the U.S.
“I encourage everyone who chooses to be negative & question my work at the @WhiteHouse to take time and contribute something good & productive in their own communities,” she tweeted at the time.
The project was funded by unspecified private donations, and the White House did not state its cost.
Planning for the pavilion began in 2018, and the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission approved the project last year, according to the news release. The East and West Wings of the White House inspired its design.
As the U.S. coronavirus pandemic death toll nears 284,000 and more Americans are getting infected, being hospitalized and dying from the virus, news of the White House’s new tennis facilities did not receive a warm reception on Twitter.
The first lady is spending her final weeks in the White House before President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill arrive in January.