Washington sources reported that for the third time in his presidency, President donald trump counted down the crowd on the Ellipse outside the white house to the ceremonial lighting of the National christmas Tree. Accordingly "We'll count from five down to that very special number," the President said, before counting down to one, when first lady Melania trump to hit the button and lit the christmas tree.
Meanwhile it's a tradition that goes back to 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot Balsalm Fir on christmas Eve. trump, while not known for sticking to tradition, kept his remarks brief and on message. He walked out on stage to "Oh christmas Tree," played by the US Marine Corps band and spoke about the meaning of Christmas. Moreover the National christmas tree briefly closed last year, in part because of the partial shutdown. Perhaps the National Park Foundation said in a statement that the site was closed after a man climbed the tree, and remained closed because of the partial government shutdown, but support from the National Park Service's charitable foundation allowed the site to reopen on christmas Eve.
Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, in a statement saying "The National Park Foundation and hundreds of local philanthropic organizations and other park partners are always working to help ensure all people have access to our treasured national parks". Apparently the park itself remained accessible through the shutdown, although Park service facilities and the white house Visitor Center would stay closed.