Donald Trump and Melania Trump put on a happy face Thursday evening to light the National Christmas Tree amid a tense political week that saw both the president and the first lady lashing out at their critics.
Trump led the crowd at President’s Park in a countdown before the tree was lit up in a bevy of white lights, including white stars dotted across the massive tree.
In his brief remarks at the festive event, Trump invoked the story of the Three Wise Men who visited Baby Jesus in Bethlehem as told in the New Testament.
“More than 2,000 years ago, a brilliant star shone in the East,” Trump said, per CNN. “Wise men traveled far, far, afield — I mean they were a long distance away — and they came and they stood with us under the star, where they found the holy family in Bethlehem. As the Bible tells us, when the wise men had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshiped him.”
“Christians give thanks that the son of God came into the world to save humanity,” he said. “Jesus Christ inspires us to love one another with hearts full of generosity and grace.”
The national Christmas tree lighting ceremony is one of the oldest American holiday traditions, celebrating its 97th anniversary this year. The annual tradition dates back to 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge first lit the tree as a local choir and small U.S. marine band performed.
But the tense political atmosphere in Washington loomed over the event, which came on the same day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Congress to move forward with articles of impeachment.
Pelosi’s request sets up an impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate, where Congress will decide whether to impeach Trump. The impeachment centers around Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The announcement left Trump in a Scrooge-like mood this morning.
“The Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!”
The tree lighting wasn’t the only holiday event to take place this week.
Melania revealed the White House’s annual holiday decorations Monday. This year’s decorations centered around “The Spirit of America,” after last year’s “blood red” Christmas trees sent social media into a meme coma.
The “Spirit of America” themed decorations feature nods to American history and landmarks, like a gingerbread replica of the White House and other notable American structures like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
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This year’s holiday glow up still wasn’t safe from jokes on Twitter, though.
Despite the festive mood to kick off the week, the First Lady was upset Wednesday night after her 13-year-old son Barron was mentioned by name in the House impeachment hearings.
Meanwhile, Trump spent the week defending himself on multiple fronts — criticizing the impeachment investigation and biting back at a group of world leaders who were caught on camera mocking the U.S. president during a NATO reception in London.
The Trumps cut their U.K. visit short his after video surfaced early Wednesday morning of a group of world leaders, including Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and French president Emmanuel Macron, mocking him for taking long press conferences and making unscheduled announcements. Trump canceled his closing press conference and he and the first lady arrived back in Washington D.C. on Wednesday night, earlier than originally scheduled.
Trump called Trudeau “two faced” on Wednesday morning when reporters asked him about the video.