On Sunday, President Trump announced via Twitter that America is winning the "War on Christmas" entirely thanks to him, claiming that he's the reason Americans are saying "Merry Christmas" again as opposed to "Happy Holidays." But as many Twitter users have pointed out, this is far from the truth. In fact, Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, wished the American people many a Merry Christmas throughout his time in office. So as a personal gift to President Trump, Twitter users have made sure that a video of Obama saying Merry Christmas over a dozen times has gone viral.
"People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again," Trump tweeted late Christmas Eve. "I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!"
MSNBC responded to the president's claim by creating a montage of Obama spreading joyfully spreading the holiday message at different events and speeches at various times of his presidency. "Donald Trump claims he brought 'Merry Christmas' back to the White House," the network wrote in a caption for the video. "We found plenty of evidence proving him wrong."
The video has since been shared online thousands of times.
The "War on Christmas" is a phrase that's been used by conservatives since the early 2000's. It originated when John Gibson, a former Fox News anchor and radio host, published the book The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought, in 2005. Since then, the phrase has become a talking point for a number of high-profile conservatives, most notably Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who claim that the more secular, salutation of "Happy Holidays" is an attack on the Christian faith.
Since running for office, Trump has mentioned the War on Christmas repeatedly at his rallies and on his Twitter feed. He even promised during his presidential campaign that if elected to office, he would make sure that Americans would say "Merry Christmas in every store."
Once elected, Trump continued to use this as a popular talking point when addressing his supporters. At the 2017 Values Voter Summit in August, hosted by the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, Trump promised to bring Christmas back to America.
“We’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore," Trump said. "They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct ... Well guess what? We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”
Critics argue that Trump's repeated remarks about Christmas is just an attempt to pander to conservative voters and religious groups — voting blocks that he will need to continue to appeal to, considering they helped get him into office. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, Trump won the votes of white evangelicals in the 2017 election by an overwhelming majority.
Some have pointed out that Trump was not previously as invested in the spirit of Christmas as he is now, and some stories even characterize him as a regular Christmas Grinch. The Washington Post has pointed out that in the 1980s, when Trump was still a wealthy real estate developer, the future president tried to get New Yorke residents to move out of an apartment building he bought and wanted to turn into a high-rent tower by banning Christmas trees in the lobby. The Post has also noted that between 2009 and 2013, Trump himself wished his Twitter followers "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
Still, Trump continues to use heated rhetoric about the "assault" on Christmas and make claims that he alone can rescue the holiday. Perhaps the latest viral video of Obama has enough holiday magic to convince the president that the War on Christmas is all in his head.