U.S.

Donald Trump Has Made 'Merry Christmas' OK Again, the President Claims in Festive Florida Address

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U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for church service at The Church of Bethesda-By-The sea in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 24, 2017. Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Donald Trump wished Americans a “Merry Christmas” during a service in Florida, after positioning himself at the vanguard of a struggle against what many U.S. conservatives have long argued is an attack on their values.

“People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again,” Trump tweeted late Sunday evening. “I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!”

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Controversy surrounding the phrase stems from a belief among some religious conservatives that the season becoming more loosely tied to Christian tradition is something that needs to be addressed. During his election campaign, Trump made numerous promises that in office, he would "make Christmas great again" by winning the "war on Christmas."

This does not reflect a mainstream fear of most Americans, according to polls. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center last week, the majority of Americans believe the religious aspects of Christmas were less emphasized today but only 31 percent indicated that this trend bothered them at least somewhat, while the remainder said it did not bother them or wholly disagreed that Christmas celebrations in the U.S. are any less Christian today.

Nevertheless the president made an issue of Christmas during the campaign.

"If I become president, we're going to be saying Merry Christmas at every store," he vowed at one of his rallies 2015. The pledge was neither the first, nor the only one to reference the apparent public struggle around the phrase.

The Pew poll showed that Americans seem to be growing more and more indifferent about yuletide greetings in stores. In 2012, the number of Americans who demanded shopkeepers and store staff greet them with “Merry Christmas” and those who did not care either way, were neck and neck, 43 percent to 45 percent, respectively. According to the latest survey, 52 percent no longer cared about the season’s greetings in shops, while only 32 percent clung to the “Merry Christmas” proclamation.

A pro-Trump campaign group has already started assisting the president in his push to frame the holiday season’s greetings as his accomplishment. In a clip of people thanking the president, a little girl thanks Trump “for letting us say Merry Christmas again.”

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