Trump Lights National Christmas Tree in Holiday Tradition

WASHINGTON—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 30-foot 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.

(L) Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), second from right, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), right, wait for President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to attend the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House, on Dec. 5, 2019. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The first tree lighting took place on Christmas Eve in 1923, when the 30th President of the United States Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot 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.

By Aamer Madhani

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Author: The Associated Press