WASHINGTON — There’s no mistaking President Donald Merry Christmas Wishes Trump’s “Merry Christmas” message — he wields it as a weapon against political correctness.
For weeks, he’s been liberally sprinkling his public remarks with Christmas tidings. And then pointing it out in case anyone fails to notice.
Trump has long promised that this year would be different after what he saw as a trend toward giving the Christian celebration short shrift in favor of a more generic and inclusive “happy holidays” message.
“Well, guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump announced in October at a Values Voter Summit of conservatives.
For all of that, though, it turns out the 2017 holiday rhythms at the White House are similar to those of years past.
The president participated in the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The house has been decked out for the season with an array of traditional trimmings, including the longstanding creche in the East Room. There has been a whirlwind of parties — roughly 20 receptions and more than 100 open houses, including a reception to mark Hanukkah.
“It is as beautiful as it has always has been. It is as special as it always has been,” said Anita McBride, who served as first lady Laura Bush’s chief of staff.
The White House holidays under Barack and Michelle Obama also included 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.
Trump has expressed concern about a diminished “Merry Christmas” message for years.