Trump lights National Christmas Tree in holiday tradition
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump helped light the National Christmas Tree on Thursday, taking part in a nearly century-old holiday tradition in the nation’s capital.
The lighthearted honor for presidents, going back to Calvin Coolidge, came on an otherwise difficult day in Trump’s presidency.
Hours before the ceremony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Democratic chairmen to bring forward impeachment charges against Trump. House Democrats say Trump abused his presidential powers by pressuring Ukraine’s president to open an investigation into Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son.
The 30-foot (9-meter) tree is decorated with 50,000 lights and 450 giant white star ornaments. The National Park Service planted the tree in President’s Park, just south of the White House, in late October.
The previous tree, a Colorado blue spruce from Virginia, was planted in 2012, but it was damaged last year when a man tried to climb it.
It’s the 97th straight year that the sitting president has participated in the lighting ceremony.
This year’s celebration included performances by Jessie James Decker, Spensha Baker, Colton Dixon, the Air Force rock band Max Impact, Chevel Shepherd, Tucson Boys Chorus, the United States Marine Band and West Tennessee Youth Chorus.
The first tree lighting took place on Christmas Eve in 1923, when Coolidge lit a 48-foot (15-meter) balsam fir in front of 3,000 spectators.
The tree is surrounded by 56 smaller trees featuring ornaments from every state and territory and the District of Columbia.
Today’s Top Stories
- 12-year-old girl in critical condition after getting hit by parade car in Kaysville
- Manhunt underway for gunman after mass shooting at July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois
- Deuel Creek Fire starts in Centerville overnight, evacuation order lifted
- Silver alert activated in American Fork, missing possibly in Wendover
- UPDATE: Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured
- Fire officials say aerial firework caused brush fire in Saratoga Springs
- Layton City is under extreme firework restrictions
- Man dies during performance at Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show
- Several people killed in Copenhagen mall shooting, police say
- UPDATE: SLCPD arrest two in connection to Sunday’s Ballpark neighborhood shooting