Lawmakers, media figures and social media users took to Twitter after President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE asked a 7-year-old if she believes in Santa Claus.
Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power White House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee Ex-Trump aide sues Grisham over abuse allegations MORE late Monday took calls from children about Santa’s whereabouts, a presidential tradition in conjunction with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
"Merry Christmas. How are you?” Trump asked one caller. “How old are you? ... Are you doing well in school? ... Are you still a believer in Santa?"
After a short pause to hear the child’s response, the president then added: “Because at 7, it’s marginal, right?”
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyExpats plead with US to deliver COVID-19 vaccines Growing number of Democrats endorse abolishing debt limit altogether Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE (D-Conn.) later tweeted disapproval of Trump’s remark, saying: “It’s just too freaking fantastic that Trump spent his Christmas Eve calling seven year olds and telling them believing in Santa at their age is ‘marginal’."
“If you’re 7, yes, Santa Claus exists and loves you,” tweeted former U.S. attorney Preet BhararaPreet BhararaWhatever else he did, Cuomo did not obstruct justice by ranting to Obama White House Why Trump (probably) won't be indicted New York Times in discussions to acquire The Athletic: report MORE, a prominent Trump critic. “And he’s on his way.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, meanwhile, compared Trump to comedian Larry David.
And "roving journalist" Michael Tracey said on Twitter that "Trump ribbing a little kid about believing in Santa is pretty darn funny."
But many critics said that Trump’s original question may have ruined Christmas for a young child by suggesting that Santa Claus didn’t exist.
The New York Times even tweeted about an article about the comments: “Kids, Please Do Not Read This Article on What Trump Said About Santa Claus.”
Dozens of other media figures and Twitter users reacted to the comments, with one calling the president a “Supervillian”:
At least this kid’s “how I found out Santa wasn’t real” story will be interesting https://t.co/8SvfyUb1fY— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) December 25, 2018
Supervillain. https://t.co/jFJkhlltEG— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) December 25, 2018
war on Christmas https://t.co/C20rLcvxxv— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) December 25, 2018
Earlier tonight walking next to some tourists on M Street, I heard the kid ask his parents if Santa was shut down too. The mom replied, "No, even Trump can't screw that up."— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 25, 2018
He screwed it up! https://t.co/u8kHIS5Jwb
So, I did this once to an eight-year-old, expressing disbelief that he still believed in Santa. The difference is, I was six. https://t.co/O0ZhQXnu2a— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 25, 2018
One thing about a pathological liar is they never know when it’s the right time to tell the truth. https://t.co/UHw89XrgGc— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) December 25, 2018
Donald Trump asking a 7-year-old if they still believe in Santa is to Christmas as Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS MORE is randomly reassuring us that banks aren’t in a liquidity crisis. https://t.co/gjDdqFOA6b— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) December 25, 2018
A local newspaper later tracked down the young girl, Collman Lloyd, who said she left out milk and cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and woke up to find an American Girl doll under the tree on Christmas morning.
Collman said she originally thought she would hear a recording of Trump’s voice and was surprised to actually be able to talk to him.
“I was like, ‘wow.’ I was shocked,” she said.
Updated on Wednesday at 6:45 a.m.