Sunday, December 25, 2016

Churchgoers Give Trump Standing Ovation

Marcy Kreiter

December 25, 2016

The president-elect spent Christmas in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago estate.More

President-elect Donald Trump spent Christmas at his Florida estate, tweeting holiday greetings, dissolving the family foundation and planning for his Jan. 20 inauguration.

His son, Donald Jr., shared before-and-after shots of the family celebration on Twitter.

Trump himself reinforced his support of “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays,” tweeting a raised-fist salute.

He also wished Jews a happy Hanukkah.

Trump, wife Melania and an entourage of Secret Service agents and Palm Beach deputies attended Christmas Eve services at the 125-year-old Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, the oldest Protestant church in South Florida. Most of the 500 people inside the church stood to applaud as Trump went to his seat.

In his sermon, the Rev. James Harlan talked about the need to make room in one’s life for God by letting go of resentments and hurts.

Trump’s transition team Friday released a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging cooperation between the two countries to “restore the framework of bilateral cooperation.”

The letter followed a bit of saber-rattling on both sides. Putin earlier in the week said he planned to upgrade Russia’s military. Trump tweeted back that the United States needs to expand its nuclear capability to keep other nations in check.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Trump’s choice for chief of staff, touched off a Twitterstorm Sunday with his Christmas greeting, which some perceived as him comparing Trump to Jesus Christ as “a savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind.” He said now is the “time to celebrate the good news of a new king.”

Incoming White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the reference had nothing to do with Trump.

The tweet wasn’t the only Trump controversy this weekend.

Jason Miller, who had accepted a job as Trump’s communications director, reversed his acceptance citing family reasons. His wife is expecting their second child. But Politico reported the decision came amid allegations he had an affair with someone else on the transition team.

Trump Saturday said he would dissolve the Trump Foundation, which has been a source of controversy amid questions of exactly how charitable the president-elect is. Trump said he would dissolve the foundation to avoid the appearance of any conflicts once he assumes office.

There still was no indication how he would avoid conflicts involving the company he spent decades building.

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