WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump unleashed a social media Christmas storm when he asked if a seven-year-old was too old to believe in Santa Claus. He confined himself to a week of plummeting stock, a government shutdown, and the US the hideous withdrawal of the chief of defense.
FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump attends the NORAD Santa Tracker phone call from the White House in Washington (December 24, 2018). REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst / File Photo
Twitter shone like a Christmas tree after Trump's remarks during a holiday event with First Lady Melania Trump answering calls from children calling the tracker of the North American Aerospace Command.
A Christmas tradition: The tracker delight children with "real-time" updates on Saint Nick's journey on Christmas Eve.
In one of the Christmas Eve calls, Trump chatted with a 7-year-old.
"Do you still believe in Santa Claus?" Trump asked the child. "Because 7 is only marginal, is not it?"
In an instant, Twitter was bombarded with messages that insulted the president. What sounded to some as if he had doubts about a cherished childhood fantasy.
"It's just fantastic that Trump called his Christmas Eve when he was seven years old and said that Santa Claus is" marginal "at her age," said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy on his Twitter account.
"There is really no sky," tweeted Dan Amira, chief author of the comedy show "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." "If you die, you just rot in the ground and get eaten by worms. Okay, Merry Christmas, Timmy. "
Others defended Trump.
"Trump does a lot wrong, but suggesting to a 7-year-old that Santa does not exist is probably the right thing he did in his office," said a man who identified Irtiza Sheikh on his Twitter account. "Someone Must Do It."
The White House had no immediate comments on the social media responses to the president's Santa comments.
In 2017, Trump spent the holidays at his Florida mansion, Mar-a-Lago, with his family, but on his second Christmas holiday as President, Trump decided to cancel his vacation trip because of the partial closure of the federal government. It all began last week when top legislators failed to complete the impasse for the proposed wall along the Mexican border.
On Christmas morning in 2018, Trump got stuck in Washington and after a 20-minute videoconference with US troops serving abroad, revealed little publicity in an interview with reporters.
He attacked the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. He had protested against the democrats who refused to finance the wall he wanted to build on the border between the US and Mexico, and stopped investigating the ties of his campaign to Russia among other regular targets.
The president then concluded with a kind of holiday wish.
"It's a shame what happens in our country," he said. "But otherwise I wish you all a Merry Christmas."
reporting by Makini Brice and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Howard Goller