POSTED BY MARTIN KICH
The following is an excerpt from an article from the Far-Right media service Newsmax:
“People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again,” the president posted on Twitter on Christmas Eve. “I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!”
In the Christmas wish tweet that followed, the president posted a video clip of himself making a similar statement while lighting the national Christmas tree.
Trump’s Christmas tweets were met with mixed reactions, with some people thanking the president but many posting links to a compilation video produced by MSNBC, showing former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle saying “Merry Christmas” on several occasions during his presidency.
The tweets were in response to an ongoing argument that there is a “war” on Christmas, and that people are encouraged to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas.
However, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, more than three-quarters of Americans believe the issue was “made up for political purpose” than a real issue.
[Fitzpatrick, Sandy. “Trump: ‘People Proud to Say “Merry Christmas” Again.’” Newsmax 25 Dec. 2017.]
An article in the Washington Post highlights the paradoxes and ironies in Trump’s high support among evangelicals:
“During the general election, about 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump, even though he rarely attends church and is a cursing, thrice-married former reality television star from Manhattan who has been publicly accused by 13 women of kissing or groping them without their consent. Here in Tennessee’s Perry County, where Trump won 76 percent of the vote, many locals said they don’t consider the president one of them but they are glad he’s speaking up for them.”
The article then includes this comment from a strong Trump supporter in Linden, Tennessee:
“I personally like that he’s a no-nonsense sort of person. Do I wish he would use his words in a better way sometimes? Absolutely. But it takes a person with strength and gumption to not care sometimes about what they say or how they say it,” Taylor said. “But the ‘Merry Christmas’ part, I think, is amazing and should have been done a long time ago.”
The article closes on this contrasting opinion of Trump from a woman in Linden who voted for Hillary Clinton:
She considers Trump an “evil” man and said he used religion to win votes, saying things that she doesn’t think he genuinely means.
Then she stopped herself: “I try not to get into the politics, because that’s the wrong thing to do in a small town. So I just don’t get into it.”
[Johnson, Jenna. “In a Pro-Trump Town, They Never Stopped Saying ‘Marry Christmas.’” Washington Post 24 Dec. 2017.]
Consider this description of the Clinton voter’s circumstances:
“She is overwhelmed by all of the sin in the world these days. [She] said that many people aren’t being paid as much as they need to be. Depression and drugs have long been a problem in the area.
She has three children—ages 9, 15 and 18, with a grandchild on the way—and works two jobs, at a local factory during the week and then cleaning a business on Sundays, making it difficult for her to get to church.
“Everybody’s struggling,” she said. “This town does need money, but we’re okay. We have a lot of faith in this town. Christmas here is what makes it fun here. Look at the streets. Look at the lights. We just love Christmas here.”
Contrast it with this description of how Trump is spending the Christmas holiday:
As for Trump’s visit to Florida, his stay in Mar-A-Lago will mark the 106th day Trump has visited one of his properties as President, a fact that critics argue helps the businessman-turned-politician boost the bottom line at The Trump Organization. Trump transferred his business holdings to a trust run by his sons before taking office earlier this year, but stopped short of selling off his holdings.
To date, Trump has spent 34 days at Mar-A-Lago as President, including seven weekends in January, February and March, according to a CNN analysis. Though it has been his most controversial stomping grounds, it has not been his most frequent.
When the weather in South Florida turned hot and muggy over the summer, Trump ventured north to the familiar confines of his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump spent a total of 40 days at the club, including a number of work-filled days in August when Trump held meetings with cabinet officials and called world leaders.
Closer to the White House, Trump has visited Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia 23 times and Trump International Hotel just blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue five times so far during his presidency.
He also stopped by the Trump International Hotel Waikiki during a brief stop in Hawaii on his way to Asia in November.
All presidents take vacations, but Trump, a celebrity before he took office, is rare in that he used that perch to slam former President Barack Obama for playing golf while running the country. Trump, as of Friday, has spent over 80 days at one of his golf courses, according to CNN’s count.
It’s unclear how much each visit to Mar-A-Lago costs and estimating the cost is difficult because of fluctuations based on security protocols and protection on each trip. But a 2016 Government Accountability Office report for a four-day trip President Barack Obama took to Florida in 2013 found that total cost to the Secret Service and Coast Guard was around $3 million.
Although it has been difficult to track Trump’s business dealings, his expenses as president, and the profits that his businesses are deriving from his presidency, one thing that is clear is that the millions that he has asserted are being “wasted” on the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and in particular on the Mueller investigation, are not the only millions or the most millions being wasted. Moreover, it is very clear that Trump has not been depending on the Christmas holidays to provide him with a much-needed break from the demands of the office.
[Scouten, Ted. “President Trump Arrives in Palm Beach for the Holidays.” CBS Miami 22 Dec. 2017.]
Whiile at Mara-A-Lago, Trump answered calls from children as part of the “NORAD Tracks Santa” program. Here are his side of two calls from children:
“What would you like more than anything?” Trump asked a caller named Casper from Virginia. “Building blocks, that’s what I’ve always liked too. I always loved building blocks … Well I predict Santa will bring you building blocks, so many you won’t be able to use them all.”
In another call, Trump praised a young caller for his Christmas wish.
“So you want your grandma to get out of the hospital? That’s what your wish is? That’s great,” Trump said. “That’s better than asking for some toy or something, that’s much better, right?”
“So your grandma’s gonna be good, OK, she’s gonna be good.”
[Abadi, Mark. “Trump Fielded Calls from Children Asking about Santa Claus, and He Had Memorable Quotes.” Business Insider 24 Dec. 2017.]
At least, he did not say to the kids anything comparable to the following remarks:
President Donald Trump reportedly grew enraged at a June meeting over the amount of visas awarded to travelers from certain countries, grumbling that 15,000 Haitians who entered the United States in the preceding months “all have AIDS” and that the 40,000 Nigerian visitors would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.
He also complained about 2,500 people who had traveled to the US from Afghanistan, which he said was a terrorist haven, according to a New York Times report citing two officials who had either attended or were briefed on the meeting.
The White House has vehemently denied that Trump used the words “AIDS” and “huts” in his remarks, though they did not refute The Times’ overall characterization of the meeting.
Several other people who attended the meeting also told The Times they did not recall the comments, but the two officials who described them found them so significant they told others about them at the time.
“All other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told The Times. “It’s both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway.”
[Mark, Michelle. “Trump Reportedly Said Haitians ‘All Have AIDS’ and Nigerians Live in ‘Huts’ During Outburst on Immigration.” Business Insider 23 Dec. 2017.]
And in a related item:
President Donald Trump has made several alterations to what is known as the presidential “challenge coin,” including replacing the US motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” with “Make America Great Again,” The Washington Post reported Friday.
The Latin phrase, which appears on US currency, means “Out of many, one.” Now the challenge coin features the Trump campaign slogan on both sides.
Presidents have for about two decades given the coins as mementos.
Other changes to the coin include removing the 13 arrows representing the original 13 colonies and making it much thicker than its predecessors. Trump’s name also appears three times on it.
One White House aide told The Post the coin was “very gold,” adding that Trump “wanted to weigh in on” its design.
Another aide told The Post that the coins would be “used in ways they haven’t been in the past,” possibly being distributed at rallies and to donors.
[Smith, Allan. Trump Replaces ‘E Pluribus Unum’ with ‘Make America Great Again’ on Presidential Coin.” Business Insider 22 Dec. 2017.]
Finally, yes, the Trumpy Bear is an actual thing. In fact, from now on whenever I say the phrase “Merry Christmas,” I am sure that this is the image that will come immediately to mind:
I am fairly certain that it was the gift that the fourth of the Wise Men was bringing to the stable in Bethlehem. Although no one can say for certain why he never made it there, ancient rumor had it that he was waylaid by outlaws wearing Teddy Roosevelt masks who declared the bear to be an outrage against God and the GOP.