Donald Trump has made it clear that crowd size is important to him, so some of the president’s Twitter critics couldn’t resist trolling him over a photo of empty seats at the National Christmas Tree Lighting. However, Trump found other aspects of the ceremony to boast about.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Donald Trump and his wife Melania lit the National Christmas Tree on Thursday night. The couple stood on a stage decorated with poinsettias while the president counted down from ten, and the first lady pushed the button that transformed the tree behind them into a festive display of thousands of twinkling lights. Donald Trump later took to Twitter to share two videos of his first experience taking part in the annual event. He’s often bragged about how he’s going to make Americans say “Merry Christmas again,” so he made sure to reference this in his short post-lighting speech.
“Today is a day that I’ve been looking very much forward to all year long. It’s one that we have heard and we speak about and we dream about,” Trump says in one of the videos. “And now, as the President of the United States, it’s my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world a very Merry Christmas.”
Today is a day that I’ve been looking very much forward to ALL YEAR LONG. It is one that you have heard me speak about many times before.
Now, as President of the United States, it is my tremendous honor to finally wish America and the world, a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! pic.twitter.com/cTvdlUkfHV
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2017
“Each one of us is a child of God,” Trump says in a second video. “That is the true source of joy this time of the year. That is what makes every Christmas merry.”
However, some netizens don’t think that Trump will be feeling very merry after he sees a viral photo that was snapped during the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Steve Rudin, a meteorologist for ABC7/WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., tweeted the snapshot in question. It depicts hundreds of empty seats at the ceremony, and it has currently received over 21,000 likes and 12,000 retweets.
— Steve Rudin ABC7 (@SteveRudinABC7) November 30, 2017
Some Twitter users reacted to the photo by mocking Donald Trump’s “Merry Christmas” manifesto. They joked that the empty seats are a sign that the president is losing the so-called “War on Christmas,” a year-end conflict that the president focused on during his campaign. As reported by the Washington Post, Trump has said that he takes umbrage with retailers that try to be more inclusive with their seasons greetings by wishing their customers “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
“With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating ‘Merry Christmas’ again, and it’s going to be done with a big, beautiful tax cut,” Trump said during a recent speech in Missouri, as reported by the Kansas City Star.
Based on all the empty seats at the National Tree Lighting, it seems Trump tried to make good on his promise to bring Christmas back to Washington and Christmas said “no thanks”.
— andy lassner (@andylassner) December 1, 2017
Those seats were filled just seconds before, but they were all raptured up to heaven when Trump became the first president to say Merry Christmas
— smoothmedia (@smoothmedia) December 1, 2017
Other Donald Trump critics compared the photo of empty seats to the president’s inauguration. As reported by Buzzfeed, Trump accused the media of reporting “fake news” after outlets shared images of his inauguration. Photos showed that a much larger mass of people turned out for Barack Obama’s first inauguration, but former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that Trump’s inaugural crowd was the largest in history.
That's a lot of empty seats – reminds me of trump's inauguration.
— AM (@londonlover1006) December 1, 2017
There were also claims that more people attended Barack Obama’s previous National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies.
Lots of empty seats. Lots less people than Obama. Hell, The Grinch could get a bigger crowd than Trump. Sad.
— Bryan Simpson (@BrySimpson) December 1, 2017
Many Twitter users predicted that the current president will respond to the photo of empty seats by calling it “fake news” and throwing a Twitter tantrum.
It's not a proper Trump Christmas without him claiming those empty seats are fake news from the failing New York Times.
— Avatar Bizarre (@AvatarBizarre) December 1, 2017
Lots of empty seats at trump's tree lighting ceremony tonight.
You know what that means.
By tomorrow he will be claiming that he had the biggest crowd of any tree lighting ceremony ever.
Sorry Dotard. Obama beats you again.
— kelly dygert (@kellydygert) December 1, 2017
I suppose now Trump going to come up with some conspiracy theory to explain all the empty seats.????
— Kevin Wortman (@UnreadDatum) December 1, 2017
Trump will say it was the “largest crowd for any tree lighting. Empty seats were way before ceremony-Fake news”
— Scott Lipsker (@ScottLipsker) December 1, 2017
Fox 5 DC reached out to the National Park Service for an explanation for why so many seats were empty at Donald Trump’s first National Christmas Tree Lighting, and the outlet was told that it’s not an unusual occurrence. This is because the seats are given out via lottery, meaning that people who don’t live in the area can obtain tickets to the event. If they don’t show up, their seats remain empty.
While Donald Trump couldn’t brag about the crowd size at the ceremony, he did reportedly boast that the weather was “the best it’s been in 25 years.”