The U.S. president sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office of the White House as a powerful symbol of executive authority.
President Joe Biden is not the only one in his administration with an impressive desk, however, now that the U.S. Navy has used wood from one of America’s oldest warships to build Vice President Kamala Harris a desk of her own.
“Provenance, history, and heritage”
The USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, was first launched in the late 18th century and went on to be sent into combat in some of the young nation’s first naval conflicts, such as the undeclared Quasi-War with France, the Barbary Wars, and the War of 1812.
The Navy Seabees reportedly began building the desk in January, using wood, copper, and nails taken from two renovations of the warship. In February, the project was completed, including eagles and stars carved into its exterior as an inspiration from the ship’s stern.
According to Navy personnel, the project was developed as a way to provide the vice president with a desk of similar significance to the Resolute Desk, which was a British gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes.
“The desk project was initiated to deliver a desk of comparable … provenance, history, and heritage as the president’s HMS Resolute desk.”
“Lasting reminders to our civilian leaders”
Some might interpret the news as another sign that Harris is taking on an outsized role within the Biden administration under a president many critics believe is experiencing cognitive decline.
In reality, the project was authorized in January as part of the Trump administration. Nevertheless, the gesture might be seen as appropriate for the ever-ambitious current vice president.
The Navy also constructed a desk for its secretary using materials from the USS Constitution and a number of other American warships.
Paul Taylor, a spokesperson for Naval History and Heritage Command, said that the desks will serve as “lasting reminders to our civilian leaders that today’s Navy and our diverse sailors and Marines are deployed forward — alongside our allies and partners — to deter aggression and preserve freedom of the seas.”
Of course, other U.S. military history buffs might find it tragic to see what has become of pieces of Old Ironsides.