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On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participated in their second ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC, near the White House.

Earlier that day, the First Lady defended her choice of red Christmas trees along the main corridor — the Grand Foyer — inside the White House:

This was the president’s official schedule for the tree lighting ceremony at The Ellipse in President’s Park:

Entertainment was provided and, afterwards, the tree was lit:

President Trump then gave a six-minute address, in which he thanked everyone who decorated the tree and made the event possible:

Tonight’s ceremony is only possible because of the hard work of the many talented individuals. They were working late at night. They were working early in the morning. They were working all the time. And my sincere thanks to everyone at the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. (Applause.)

He also thanked the entertainers:

There’s great talent. They’re going on to big things, many of them. I’ve seen them and they are something very special. Thank you very much. That was a great job tonight. (Applause.)

And this includes one very special group that has topped Billboard charts multiple times: the Dominican Sisters, who I met backstage, from Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Applause.)

These, by the way, are traditional Dominicans, not the ones who have gone trendy in recent years. These women are doing very well in expanding their community. This is one of the orders women want to join. May God bless them in their work.

You can read more about their 2017 Christmas album here. It was recorded in their chapel at the Ann Arbor Motherhouse:

But I digress.

President Trump retold the Christmas story beautifully — as he did last year (emphases mine):

For Christians all across our nation, around the world, this is a sacred season that begins 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was born. An angel declared to the shepherds tending their flocks, “Behold, I bring you good tidings, great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is a born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Applause.) There in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph held in their hands the son of God; the light of the world; and, through Him, the promise of eternal salvation.

He then went on to discuss the time that Americans selflessly give to each other and a spirit of national unity. I am certain that Stephen Miller helped to write this speech, evident in the fourth paragraph:

No matter one’s faith or beliefs, the Christmas season reflects all that is best in the American spirit. This is a time of the year for rejoicing with our family and friends, for spreading charity and goodwill in our commitment all over this country in all of our communities, and for giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives.

We are especially thankful for the countless Americans who have given their time and passion to help those in need. Here in the audience today are a number of extraordinary foster families and guardians joined by the beautiful children they have welcomed into their homes. And beautiful children they are. Your devotion inspires us all. To every child in foster care: You are the precious loved one and gift of God. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Very, very special.

At this time of the year, we renew the bonds of affection between our fellow citizens, and we awaken the faith in our hearts that calls each of us to action. As we gather loved ones, our thoughts turn to those who are rebuilding their lives after devastating wildfires, destructive hurricanes, and terrible tragedy.

We are one American family. We hurt together, we heal together, and we will always pull through together. This is the United States of America. We are the best in the world, and there’s nobody close. (Applause.)

He ended with these words:

We ask God to watch over this nation’s heroes, and to shed his almighty grace upon our nation. And we pray that America’s light will shine more brightly and stronger than ever. And it will.

On behalf of Melania and myself and the entire Trump family — many of whom are with us tonight — I want to again wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas. May this Christmas season bring peace to your hearts, warmth to your homes, cheer to your spirit, and joy to the world. Merry Christmas, everyone. Merry Christmas and God bless you. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Something must have been on the radar, because the Trumps left quite quickly:

The press corps moaned:

Well said.

The Trumps’ safety deserves more concern than the inconvenience a back-biting member of the press corps experiences.

One hopes that the 2019 tree lighting is free from threats, real or anticipated.

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