Sunday 22 September 2019

Donald Trump and Melania in Christmas tree ceremony

The first lady switched on the lights in what has become a presidential tradition.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump light the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House (Susan Walsh/AP)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump light the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House (Susan Walsh/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

President Donald Trump and his wife Melania have lit the National Christmas Tree in the park behind the White House.

It is the 96th straight year for the presidential tradition.

The first lady hit the switch to light the tree after her husband did a countdown from 10, urging audience members to join in.

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First lady Melania Trump waves after lighting the National Christmas Tree (Andrew Harnik/PA)

Mr Trump declared: “Merry Christmas, everybody. We just have to say it all together: Merry, merry Christmas.”

The first lighting took place on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators.

The National Christmas Tree is a living Colorado blue spruce.

It is surrounded by 56 smaller trees featuring ornaments from every state and territory and the District of Columbia.

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