When he ran for the White House in 2016, Donald Trump promised to make America great again.
Late Sunday night, on what appeared to be a busy Christmas Eve at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the president took a bow for what he views as his successful role in making Christmas merry again.
“People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again,” the president tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. EST. “I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!”
Sunday’s tweet seemed as if the president were claiming “mission accomplished” following some comments he made in October at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit in Washington.
“We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct,” the president said to cheers. “You go to department stores and they’ll say ‘Happy New Year,’ or they’ll say other things and it’ll be red, they’ll have it painted.”
“Well, guess what? We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”
Earlier Sunday, the president and first lady Melania Trump released an official photo, showing them making calls to children across the U.S. as part of the traditional NORAD tracking of Santa’s annual trip around the globe.
The president and first lady each spoke to 11 children in all. The kids ranged in age from 5 to 12.
Trump also communicated to U.S. troops who were spending the holiday overseas.
“Today and every day, we’re incredibly thankful for you and for your families,” Trump told the troops via a video hook-up at Mar-a-Lago. “Your families have been tremendous. Always underappreciated, the military families. The greatest people on Earth.”
The president was addressing members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard stationed in Qatar, Kuwait and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and patrolling the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East.
The president complimented each branch of the armed forces, starting with the Army’s “Iron Brigade” combat team in Kuwait, which he said is performing a “vital mission” by partnering with the Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Saudi Arabian and Jordanian armies.
He said a Kuwait-based, Marine Corps air-ground task force has provided more than 4,000 flight hours of close air support in the campaign against the Islamic State group, and he thanked sailors aboard the USS Sampson for defending “high-value assets” in the Strait of Hormuz.
Trump also singled out the Air Force’s 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron in Qatar for engaging more than 700 IS and Taliban targets in five separate countries and winning two trophies in an Air Force bomb competition.
He showered the most praise on the Coast Guard, which impressed him with its rescue operations during a devastating hurricane season.
“You’ve done such an incredible job in Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico,” Trump said. “Many Republicans are very happy but, I have to tell you, the people of Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and lots of other states are even more happy. What a job you’ve done … saved thousands and thousands of lives.”
In closing, Trump offered thanks to those who are spending time away from their families to “defend all of our families, our freedoms and our pride.”
“Every American heart is thankful to you and we’re asking God to watch over you and to watch over your families,” he said, before he asked journalists to leave the room so he could begin answering any service member questions.
“Every American heart is thankful to you and we’re asking God to watch over you and to watch over your families.”
Trump began the day by tweeting against a top FBI official he has suggested is biased against him, as well as the news media. The president also spent several hours playing golf at his private club in West Palm Beach.
Later, Trump ate Christmas Eve dinner with his family before attending worship services with the first lady at the Episcopal church in Palm Beach where they were married in 2005.
Fox News’ Joseph Weber and the Associated Press contributed to this story.