Man Climbs 20ft up National Christmas Tree near White House

national christmas tree
The National Christmas Tree is lit during a ceremony held by the National Park Service at the Ellipse near the White House on November 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. Police negotiated a man down from the tree on Friday. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Police talked down a man from the National Christmas tree near the White House on Friday evening, after he climbed up the holiday fixture.

The man clambered between 15 to 20 ft up the tree situated in the Ellipse in Washington D.C., the U.S. Park Police told CBS News-affiliate WUSA9. Police officers were alerted to the incident at around 5:45pm, U.S. Park Police public information officer Sergeant Eduardo Delgadotold CNN.

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Police officers who attended the scene were joined by two negotiators, according to CNN. Officers spoke to the man, and were able to persuade him to come back down.

At about 6:55pm, the man left the tree. He "came down of his own accord," Delgado told The Washington Post.

Delgado told CNN the man was not hurt during the incident.

He was taken to a nearby hospital so he could undergo a mental health check, WUSA9 reported.

It is unclear whether he will face charges.

Following the incident, the pageant area of the Ellipse was closed for the rest of Friday evening. That night, officials checked the tree for potential damage, a National Park Service spokeswoman told The Washington Post.

She told the newspaper the last holiday performance of the season at the tree would not go ahead.

The U.S. Park Police and the National Park Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It is unclear what the man's motivation was for climbing up the tree. Officers were also uncertain on Friday night how he managed to ascend so high.

The National Christmas Tree sits at the center of the Pageant of Peace, to the north of the 52-acre Ellipse park.

A Christmas tree has been erected at the Ellipse since Calvin Coolidge became the first president to do so in 1923. That year, a 48ft Balsam Fir was brought to the park from Vermont, and decorated with 2,500 white, red and green lights on Christmas Eve. This year, the annual lighting of the tree was held on November 28.

President Donald Trump made a speech at the ceremony, where he told listeners: "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."

Those looking to attend the lighting must enter an online lottery. Members of the public can put forward entries for next year's lighting on an undisclosed date in Fall 2019, according to the National Park Service.