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Despite a viral video depicting “Melania Trump” as thrilled to spend Christmas apart from her husband, but the president and real-life First Lady are set to spend the holiday together. Following President Donald Trump’s declaration that he was abandoning his plan to join Melania at his Mar-a-Lago club and would instead remain in the White House to deal with this weekend’s partial government shutdown, the White House confirmed Melania will make a U-Turn and head back to Washington D.C. The couple is expected to stay in D.C. through at least Christmas.
Trump reiterated as much himself on Saturday, adding “I will not be going to Florida because of the Shutdown – Staying in the White House! #MAGA.” The Trump family initially planned on a 16-day holiday to Mar-a-Lago, though Trump indicated Friday he’d likely stay in the Oval Office if democrats and republicans couldn’t reach a border security compromise by Friday evening. Melania and Barron Trump departed for West Palm Beach on Friday afternoon. The thought of Trump separated from family was not lost on media or late-night, as Stephen Colbert’s Late Show even brought back Laura Benanti’s Melania impression for a full-throated musical number about spending Christmas alone, a video which captured the imagination of the Internet.
The president’s arrival has been awaited with trepidation in Mar-a-Lago, where members of the tony Palm Beach club are more divided than ever about their host. As Laurence Leamer reports for V.F., evidence-free rumors were already flying, before the president announced he won’t be marking the holiday on site: “Trump’s children, [Mar-a-Lago members] whisper, are about to be indicted. Trump is negotiating leaving the White House in exchange for not being prosecuted for his myriad crimes. The Democrats and Republicans conspired to raise the interest rates to tank the stock market and drive Trump from office.”
The Hill speculates the Trump family might make it down to Mar-a-Lago after all, given the senate again convened on Saturday, and subsequently adjourned without any compromise on Trump’s demand for border wall funds. Senators are not expected to meet again until at least December 27, leaving it unclear when further developments on the shutdown will take place. And, as Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham stated on Friday, “It has long been the family’s tradition to spend their Christmas holiday at Mar-a-Lago.”
According to The New York Post, Melania’s Florida holidays traditions include Christmas Eve Mass at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach (site of her marriage to Trump in 2005) and a large Christmas dinner. It’s unclear where the rest of the Trump family will spend Christmas, as Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle were spotted in Florida after Melania and Barron’s arrival.
Lest you feel too bad about the effects of the shutdown on the Trump family, Senator Patrick Leahy’s office released a report estimating that 420,000 employees will be working without pay this holiday, and another 380,000 will be furloughed. Trump’s insistence on nabbing funding for the border wall is not exactly making Christmas great again for nearly 1 million federal workers and their families.