President Donald Trump used the traditional Christmas Eve call to deployed members of the military to tout his own policies and praise his administration. In the five-minute conference call with five members of the armed forces—one from each branch—Trump seemingly couldn’t help patting himself in the back. “I just wanted to wish everybody a very, very Merry Christmas. We say Christmas, again very proudly. Very merry, merry Christmas,” Trump said on the call from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “We’re going to have a great year, it’ll be an incredible year.”
It wasn’t just in uttering the word Christmas that Trump managed to make the call about himself. While reading from a prepared statement he also praised his tactical prowess by telling the troops that “we are fighting again and we are winning.” He specifically commended Navy Commander Timothy LaBenz for setting a “new standard in readiness.” The commander in chief then appeared to realize his words could be misinterpreted so he kept on talking. “It really has always been ready,” he continued. “But we’re all ready. So congratulations on the new standard. We’re all talking about it. It’s a high standard you’ve set.”
Trump told the service members that “every American heart is thankful to you” and “we are asking God to watch over you and to watch over your families.”
Trump’s self-congratulatory Christmas message came shortly after a pro-Trump nonprofit released an ad in which “everyday Americans are standing to thank President Trump.” One of those “everyday Americans” is a little girl who thanks the president for “letting us say merry Christmas again.” It isn’t clear who exactly was preventing the adorable little girl from saying “merry Christmas” before but the message does go in line with what Trump has been touting for weeks now. “Remember I said we’re bringing Christmas back?” Trump said earlier this month at a Utah rally. “Christmas is back, bigger and better than ever before. We’re bringing Christmas back.”
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