It wouldn't be the holidays without the mandatory exchange of cards to and from families and friends in different zip codes. Normally, the cards are pretty harmless (minus the awkward family photos). But President Donald Trump's 2018 Christmas card is prompting lots of responses this year and drawing comparisons to those of his predecessor.
"Merry Christmas from President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump," read a Twitter post by the first lady on Tuesday, Dec. 18, as the official White House Christmas portrait was released. But while most of us would simply write a quick, "Happy Holidays!" on the back of the photo and call it a day, you know the White House has to get fancier about it.
In classic Trump style, his Christmas card this year is drawing all sorts of attention. It's not unique for the prez to send out cards around the holidays, and recipients of Trump's card this year were posting photos of it on social media for the world to see.
But there is one big difference between Trump and former President Barack Obama's holiday cards that everyone's talking about. Whereas the Obamas' annual cards typically included a non-denominational greeting that was not specific to Christmas, such as "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings," the Trumps have made the move to stick with the Christianized greeting of "Merry Christmas."
Obama's inclusive holiday messages were not to say he wasn't religious; quite the opposite, in fact. Despite beliefs to the contrary, Obama has been open about the fact he is Christian.
For the record, though not necessarily in official White House cards, the preceding first family did wish their followers a Merry Christmas via social media. Twitter posts by the 44th president in 2016, however, did say "Merry Christmas," as did one from 2017 (though not an official White House portrait, since Obama was] no longer in office at the time).
There was also a related myth floating around that claimed the Obamas had removed the White House nativity scene and that the Trumps had put it back on display — a claim that PolitiFact rates as flatly false.
The same was true of Trump's first holiday card as president last year.
It's become a sort of culture wars sticking point.
The Obamas were known to celebrate or honor multiple cultural holidays all happening around the December period, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. While the Trumps have put out messages and held ceremonies honoring the latter two holidays, the president's emphasis on saying "Merry Christmas" seems to be a talking point.
In fact, "Trump's campaign is currently fundraising off the idea that he made it OK to say Merry Christmas," tweeted Huffington Post reporter Jennifery Bendery. She posted a screenshot of an email sent by the Trump campaign which appears to read, "With President Trump in the White House, America is once again saying Merry Christmas."
Apparently, according to a tweeted video by Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the cards were, well, generously proportioned.
As with last year, Americans are being encouraged on multiple fronts to send a virtual Christmas card to the president and first lady. There are at least two of these official virtual Christmas cards floating around: one from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and another directly from the official campaign for Donald J. Trump.
Needless to say, as with last year, the gesture has become an utter troll-fest.
In any event, whatever holiday you're celebrating this season (if any at all), hopefully your cards aren't causing this much division.
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