Fact-Checking Trump Claim on Making Christmas Great Again

The Trumps' Christmas address

Trump's first Christmas Eve in office was a busy one; the president and first lady also release their first Christmas address.

To hear Donald Trump talk, you'd think Barack Obama was the president who stole Christmas.

Although Trump doesn't generally single him out by name on this subject, the president's meaning is unmistakable when he declares, as he has done since long before the holiday season, that's he making it OK to talk about Christmas again. Obama, it would seem, did not. But that's not what the record shows.

A look at that matter arose in a week bristling with action on taxes and Trump's words on foreign policy, politics and more.

On Christmas Eve, Trump wrote on Twitter: "People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!"

The facts: "Merry Christmas," the president said when presiding over the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and celebrating "the birth of our Savior."

That president was Obama, marking "my family's Christian faith" and other faiths in his final Christmas tree ritual in office, in 2016.

The White House holidays under the Obamas had plenty of Christmas trappings and cheer. Obama offered a more general holiday message on the official greeting card, but wished "Merry Christmas" at the National Tree lighting, on his Twitter account and in his weekly address.

Obama also shared a family photo via social media, wishing Americans a Merry Christmas on Monday.

Trump explicitly criticized Obama in 2011, tweeting that the president had "issued a statement for Kwanzaa but failed to issue one for Christmas." In fact, that year Obama wished people "Merry Christmas" from his Twitter account and gave a video address with wife Michelle Obama in which he wished people a "Merry Christmas and happy holidays."

Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also offered greetings marking Kwanzaa, the weeklong African heritage festivities starting Tuesday. The White House said Trump will also have a statement on Kwanzaa.

On Christmas Eve, Jimmy Kimmel was one of the outspoken Hollywood names to call Trump on his Christmas remark.

"Thanks to President @realDonaldTrump for making it legal to say 'Merry Christmas' in public again. I was arrested for doing it at a @tjmaxx last year - #ThanksObama - and this is a MAJOR RELIEF!" the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host wrote on Twitter.

Trump, along with Melania Trump, wished Americans a Merry Christmas in a video message posted to his Twitter account on Christmas Day.

Trump ate Christmas Eve dinner with his family before attending worship services with the first lady at the Episcopal church in Palm Beach where they were married in 2005.

Earlier in the day, the president and first lady fielded calls from children eager to know how soon Santa Claus would get to their homes from their Mar-a-Lago estate, as they sat in chairs on opposite sides of a large Christmas tree. The calls came by way of a Santa tracking program run for more than 60 years by the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Journalists could only hear the president's side of the conversations.

Trump's first Christmas Eve in office was a busy one that unfolded like this: tweet against perceived adversaries, cheer U.S. troops spending the holidays overseas, play golf, chat with children anxious to know when Santa will bring their presents, eat dinner with the family and attend a church service.

Trump is spending his first Christmas in office at his estate and private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The first lady and their son, Barron, arrived days before he joined them last Friday. Trump's daughter, Tiffany Trump, was seen getting off of Air Force One in Florida on Friday, and Donald Trump Jr. shared on social media photos of some of his five children at Christmas Eve dinner with their grandfather.

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