President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpFormer aide sees Melania Trump as 'the doomed French queen': book If another 9/11 happened in a divided 2021, could national unity be achieved again? Former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham planning book: report MORE lit the National Christmas Tree on Wednesday, marking the holiday season with the annual tradition outside the White House.
The president briefly appeared on stage at the event, where he wished attendees a merry Christmas.
"Merry Christmas, everybody," the president told the crowd. "We just have to say it all together, merry, merry Christmas."
Trump began a countdown from 10, at the end of which the first lady hit a button to light the tree. The two exited the stage and returned to their seats in the front row.
The official lighting was sandwiched between an array of musical performances, mostly of classic holiday songs.
Others in attendance included Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpHow Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents MORE and his girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, as well the president's daughters, Lara Trump and Tiffany Trump.
Members of the press pool — a group of reporters assigned to remain with the president and document his activities — indicated shortly after 6:30 p.m. that Trump had returned to the White House without any staffers notifying the media.
The protective press pool exists to be in close proximity to the president in the event of an emergency and to document his movements for history. Can do neither at the moment. https://t.co/eXXKc8BQox— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 28, 2018
The entire point of the protective pool is to be with POTUS https://t.co/O9atxq7JdH— Anita Kumar (@anitakumar01) November 28, 2018
Olivier Knox, the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) president, later said he looked into the situation, and concluded the incident was the result of a "logistical glitch."
Trump shared a photo of the tree on Twitter.
"On behalf of @FLOTUS Melania and the entire Trump family, I want to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Trump wrote. "May this Christmas Season bring peace to your hearts, warmth to your homes, cheer to your spirits and JOY TO THE WORLD!"
On behalf of @FLOTUS Melania and the entire Trump family, I want to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! May this Christmas Season bring peace to your hearts, warmth to your homes, cheer to your spirits and JOY TO THE WORLD! #NCTL2018 pic.twitter.com/XNMJQ5JDSU— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2018
Melania Trump earlier this week unveiled the holiday decorations inside the White House for this year's season with a theme of "American Treasures."
Updated at 9:45 p.m.