Presidents giving serious speeches in front of Christmas decorations

President Donald Trump delivered a...

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 6:55 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 6:55 PM

President Donald Trump delivered a very important speech on tax reform in front one of the White House's 50+ Christmas trees on Wednesday. He tied it into the speech, promising Americans a tax cut for Christmas. The holiday is an important one for him and he came into office promising Americans they'd be saying "Merry Christmas" again.

His speech Wednesday was one of the more festive-looking presidential speeches to be given in recent history, with the tree directly behind him and the lights blurred.

Presidents sometimes deliver important speeches in December

Sometimes those speeches occur in front of Christmas decor

And that was just the head-on shot. Take a look at the shot from the side of the room.

I count nine Christmas trees. They kind of blend together after five. Use it as a Rorschach test of your Christmas spirit.

That's not to say previous presidents haven't had their moments. Some very serious business has been delivered to the nation near or in front of Christmas decorations over the past thirty or so years.

Trump's most Christmas-y speech setting was without a doubt the day he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Flanked by two Christmas trees and Vice President Mike Pence, Trump broke with decades of US foreign policy.

He made an announcement about a very sensitive religious region in front of two Christmas trees.

A selection from that speech:

"Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs."

In 2015, President Barack Obama addressed the nation after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. To his right, a Christmas tree. While it wasn't front and center, the tree still made its way into still photographs taken by the media during the speech.

Reassuring the country after a terror attack is one of the most sobering things a president has to do. Perhaps keeping the Christmas tree out of frame for the television audience was a good call.

A selection from that speech:

"Well, here's what I want you to know: The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won't depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values, or giving into fear. That's what groups like ISIL are hoping for. Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless, and by drawing upon every aspect of American power."

In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the The US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, which freed up the two countries to share civilian nuclear technology. The idea was to promote economic growth and clean energy.

Regardless of intent, anything nuclear is pretty serious. And Bush spoke to his majority Christian country standing beside a Christmas tree.

A selection from the speech:

"We recognize that energy, clean energy is going to be important to the advancement of our economies. And on my visit to India earlier this year, we concluded an historic agreement that will allow us to share civilian nuclear technology and bring India's civilian nuclear program under the safeguards of the IAEA. This cooperation will help the people of India produce more of their energy from clean, safe nuclear power, and that, in turn, will help their economy grow. And it's in our interest that the Indian economy continue to grow. It helps make America more secure."

When President Bill Clinton announced the nomination of William Cohen to be defense secretary in December 1996, he did so in front of an understated wreath.

Cohen went on to serve in the role from 1997 to 2001.

A selection from that speech:

"But the opportunities are even greater -- working toward a Europe that, for the first time, is undivided, democratic and at peace; building a new partnership with a democratic Russia; meeting the challenge of change in Asia with strength and steadiness in a way that advances freedom and prosperity; extending the reach of peace and freedom in the Middle East, in Africa; opening more markets in Latin America; and strengthening the democracy that has taken root there."

You know what's the appropriate genre of speech to deliver in front of Christmas decorations? A Christmas address.

You know who else knew that? President Ronald Reagan.

(No, he was not the only one, but look at that classic combination of red candles, some greenery and what looks to be a poinsettia on the desk behind him. It is the stuff of HGTV dream homes.)

Like a true politician, Reagan segued his 1981 Christmas address into a speech about Poland. Days earlier, authorities started cracking down on the Solidarity movement and imposed martial law.

A selection from the speech:

"In attacking Solidarity its enemies attack an entire people. Ten million of Poland's 36 million citizens are members of Solidarity. Taken together with their families, they account for the overwhelming majority of the Polish nation. By persecuting Solidarity the Polish Government wages war against its own people."

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