President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump wished Americans a Merry Christmas as they marked the holiday with family in Florida.
“The president and I want to wish each and every American a very Merry Christmas,” Melania Trump said in a video message recorded at the White House and released Wednesday, Dec. 25.
“We say a special prayer for those military service members stationed far from home and we renew our hope for peace among nations and joy to the world,” President Trump said in the message.
The president also sent a simple wish on a Fan page with all capitals.
The first family spent the holiday at the president’s private club in Palm Beach, attending a music-filled Christmas Eve service at a Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated church.
The pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, Jimmy Scroggins, and his family greeted the Trumps as they arrived moments into a Candlelight Christmas Celebration.
The Trumps received applause and cheers when taking reserved seats in the third pew of the church. Brief sermons and clergy readings were mixed with traditional Christmas songs as dramatic smoke drifted and fake snow fell down from the rafters.
The president earlier called military service members stationed across the world to share greetings ahead of the Christmas holiday.
Speaking Tuesday by video conference from his private club in Florida, Trump said, “I want to wish you an amazing Christmas.” The group included Marines in Afghanistan, an Army unit in Kuwait, a Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden, an Air Force base in Missouri, and a Coast Guard station in Alaska.
Trump thanked the military for its efforts this year destroying the last territorial caliphate of ISIS and kill its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He also advocated domestic economic gains and a pay raise in the new year for troops coming in.
“You make it possible for us to do what we have to do,” Trump said, praising them for their service.
Trump briefly addressed troop questions, including an invitation to attend the USS Forrest Sherman’s homecoming when the destroyer returns to his home port of Norfolk, Virginia, next year.
Trump was asked what he’d bought Mrs. Trump for Christmas. A “beautiful card,” he said, and admitted that he was “still working on a Christmas present.”
“You made me think. I’m going to have to start working on that real fast,” he said.
Meanwhile, the first lady responded to calls from children across the country on Tuesday night. It’s a part of the Operation NORAD Tracks Santa initiative of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Ms. Trump was talking to several kids and listening to things on their Christmas list. Grisham said Mrs. Trump ”reminded the kids to put milk and cookies out for Santa and wished each child and their families a very merry Christmas.”
Melania shared on her Fanpage: “t’s #ChristmasEve & #Santa is hard at work delivering toys to children all over the world! A wonderful tradition – thank you @NoradSanta for including me in helping the kids track Santa!”
Includes reporting from the Associated Press.