“I have no idea how many elves would remain loyal to Santa Claus, but given the open terrain, you would probably want to surround Santa’s workshop with at least a company of Army Rangers before sending in a team from one of our special missions units to capture or kill Santa himself.”
—Andrew Exum, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what the Trump administration would have to do to actually win in this war for Christmas.
Nearly a year into his presidency, the culture warrior who once cried, “NO MERCY TO TERRORISTS you dumb bastards!” has allowed pro-“holiday” extremism to infect even his own inner circle of advisors and family.
“Happy Holidays!” Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, tweeted earlier this month, adding a kissy-face emoji. She dared do this in a tweet that included a photo of her posing in front of Christmas trees.
“Happy Holidays from [Trump Winery],” tweeted Eric Trump, the president’s son and a veteran of the 2016 presidential campaign during which Christmas restoration was a core issue. (On the trail, the president would often emphasize to roaring applause that if he became leader of the free world, “we’re gonna start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”)
The Trump scion seemed to at least acknowledge the betrayal, given that he subsequently “liked” a reply-tweet that read, “Come on daddy said it’s supposed to be Merry Christmas.”
Even the first lady and President Trump’s trusted confidant and adviser Melania slipped up, giving equal air time to the birth of Jesus Christ and the politically correct concept of festive “holidays.”
“Wishing you a Merry Christmas & joyous holiday season!” she tweeted with a straight face.
Sure, there have been sops to pro-Christmas partisans. The president, first lady, and their son Barron all put their signatures to a White House Christmas card wishing a “Merry Christmas.” In October, President Trump spoke at the Values Voter Summit, the annual Christian-right conference in Washington, D.C., and attempted to declare victory in a long-fought cultural battle.
“We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about any more, they don’t use the word Christmas because it is not politically correct,” Trump alleged. “Well, guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ again.”
The White House did not respond to a request for further comment on this, but belying all of these claims of victory is the president’s gross negligence or inability (or unwillingness?) to rein in the pro-“holidays” excesses not only within his own administration, but within his own immediate family.
Still, there are Trump allies who continue to have faith in the president’s commitment to the cause.
Scottie Nell Hughes, the pro-Trump TV personality who made a name for herself during the election as one of the most faithful Trump boosters on cable news, dismissed any notion that he had gone wobbly on this issue.
“The President has always been against getting involved in any war on Christmas rather President Trump is waging a war FOR Christmas,” she emailed The Daily Beast. “His ability to pick battles is a great sign for all the detractors who claim he isn’t ‘presidential.’ But I’m still a bit worried about the Easter Bunny!”
Cleveland-area pastor Darrell Scott, who served not only as a member of Trump’s presidential transition team but also in the trenches of the War on Christmas, recounted the first time he and his wife met Trump, and how one of the very first things the future president said to them was about the tyranny of “happy holidays.”
“We talked about this back in 2011 when we met,” Scott said, recalling their meeting in Trump Tower in New York City. “He said he went to Macy’s [recently] and that all they had up was ‘Happy Holidays,’ and he didn’t see a sign that said, ‘Merry Christmas.’ He said, ‘Where’s the ‘Merry Christmas,’ what’s going on here?’”
Trump was emphatic enough about the matter that Scott says his wife has commented multiple times over the years about the exchange, noting that, “wow, that really must have bothered him.”
Scott jokingly added that “maybe that was the catalyst to cause him to run, so he can correct Christmas in America… and make Christmas great again.”
In assessing how his friend Trump, now President Trump, has done in this particular war, the pastor replied, “A-plus.” The president’s business empire, however, seems headed for something closer to a failing grade worthy of a Macy’s.
“Get in the holiday spirit!” read a message posted this month by the official Twitter account of Trump International Hotel in D.C., just a stone’s throw away from the White House. “Here are some of the best, can’t-miss ways to experience the holidays in [Washington].”
The tweet included the hashtags, “#holidayspirit,” “#celebrate,” “#visitdc,” and even “#lights.”
There was no mention of Christmas to be had.