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White House Announces New Tennis Pavilion

FILE - First lady Melania Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senate Republican candidates, at Valdosta Regional Airport in Georgia, Dec. 5, 2020.

Nearly a year after announcing its construction, a new tennis pavilion has been completed on the White House grounds, the administration said in a statement Monday.

The project, for which construction began in 2019, was to refurbish the existing tennis court on White House grounds and construct a new building alongside it, inspired by the classic architecture of the East and West Wings, the White House said in a statement Monday.

“It is my hope that this private space will function as both a place of leisure and gathering for future first families,” first lady Melania Trump was quoted as saying in the statement.

But the announcement was immediately met with backlash by some on social media, as many Americans questioned the cost and importance of the project as the U.S. recorded more than 283,000 deaths from COVID-19.

“How many PPEs, tests, masks, contact tracers, and ICU beds could that have bought instead?” one epidemiologist wrote on Twitter.

The White House has not revealed how much money was spent on the project.

The project drew criticism earlier in the year as well, when Melania Trump posted on Twitter a photo of herself wearing a hard hat and surveying construction. She responded to critics then in a tweet, calling on those who criticized her to “contribute something good and productive in their own communities.”