On Christmas Eve, President Donald Trump took time from his family’s celebration at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to tweet, “People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again.”
The next morning, on Christmas day, Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, appeared on Fox & Friends to talk about the president’s deeply held religious faith and ruminate on how he not only put “Christ back in Christmas” but also “prayer back in the White House.” Judging from the reaction on Twitter, however, many people from all corners of the political spectrum remain unconvinced of Trump’s faith, as well as both the part he played in winning the “War on Christmas,” or if there was ever even such a “war” in the first place.
According to an article in the Washington Post, on Christmas morning, Fox & Friends hosted Paula White to discuss Trump’s victory in bringing the phrase “Merry Christmas” back into popular usage, instead of the more inclusive and general “Happy Holidays.” Paula White is a Pentecostal Christian televangelist and senior pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center. She also has her own television show and was named chair of the evangelical board for the Donald Trump administration. White has appeared on Fox & Friends on a number of occasions, and in this instance, she impressed upon the viewers how seriously the president takes his Christian Faith.
“Well, isn’t it nice to be able to say Merry Christmas and to put Jesus Christ back on the White House lawn? And to have the crusader that we have in our president? It is so vitally important — first off, it’s personal to him. He’s a man of faith, he is a believer. He’s spiritual.”
.@Paula_White: "Trump just hasn't put Christ back in Christmas, but he's also put prayer back into the White House, he's put justice… and religious freedom back into our courts." pic.twitter.com/U6MZzEidVO
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 25, 2017
The idea of a “War on Christmas” is predicated, of course, on accepting the notion that previous presidents, particularly Barack Obama, were hostile to the idea of saying “Merry Christmas” and to the Christian faith in general. An article in Mediaite talks about the Paula White appearance and mentions that the “War on Christmas” has been a popular mantra on Fox News for many years, as well as one Trump went back to time and time again while he was on the campaign trail. It went hand in hand with what CNN calls Trump’s “history of suggesting Obama is a Muslim.”
Many commentators on Twitter were quick to point out, however, that Barack Obama, who has always publicly declared himself to be Christian, said “Merry Christmas” on any number of occasions.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) December 25, 2017
In fact, this very year, Barack Obama and his family released what appears to be a very heartfelt “Merry Christmas” message.
On behalf of the Obama family, Merry Christmas! We wish you joy and peace this holiday season. pic.twitter.com/CNFUZrhrBj
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 25, 2017
There were even pundits on Twitter who jumped in to question the very idea of Trump’s faith in God. This has been a common theme from the beginning of Trump’s presidency from commentators on the left, but on Tuesday morning, it was steadfast stalwarts of conservative thought, such as Erick Erickson and Bill Kristol, who raised the issue of the possibly calculated nature of the president’s conversion to Christianity.
I keep seeing people on Fox and elsewhere talking about President Trump's amazing faith and how it guides him. I never actually hear the President talking about that. GW Bush, Reagan, and even Clinton talked more about it. It's like Trump is uncomfortable with the topic.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) December 26, 2017
It’s like the people on Fox testifying to Trump’s faith are either mind-bogglingly credulous or knowingly making stuff up… https://t.co/F3Wf2rbKHK
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 26, 2017
It will be interesting to see, now that Donald Trump and his supporters have declared victory, effectively bringing the “War on Christmas” to a close, if it will make another appearance next holiday season.