The 2017 Trump Christmas Ornament Explained

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Will Fischer is not excited by the design of the official Trump Christmas ornament:

No, I don’t think so. What it really reminds me of is something old fashioned. This kind of imagery was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it seems like that was the probable inspiration for whoever designed this.

But what I’m really curious about is the initials at the bottom center. It looks like a D, an A, and an…I? Or maybe an F? What’s this all about? The answer will probably suprise you:

The Official 2017 White House Christmas ornament honors the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served as the thirty-second president of the United States from 1933 to 1945 and his remarkable journey to restore the faith of the American people….The eagle cartouche emblazoned on the speaker’s stand at President Roosevelt’s first inauguration is the inspiration for the main element of the 2017 ornament. The two flags below have forty-eight stars each….The shape of the ornament is reminiscent of the silhouette of a tabletop radio – similar to those many Americans had in their homes and used to listen to the president’s reassuring Fireside Chats. Roosevelt’s beloved Fala is pictured on the back of the ornament.

Right. The initials are F, D, and R. But why is Donald Trump honoring the Democratic Party’s greatest president? Well, it turns out that the White House Historical Association designs the ornaments. In 2016 it was inspired by Herbert Hoover. In 2015 it was Calvin Coolidge. In 2014 it was Warren G. Harding. I detect a pattern!

The first White House ornament, in 1981, was Angel in Flight. In 1982 it honored George Washington. Then the Historical Society worked its way though the rest of the presidents, with occasional interruptions, until 2002. In 2003 they did Ulysses S. Grant, and it’s been presidents every year since then. So this year it was just FDR’s turn.

Trump will get his own ornament in 2030—unless he decides to disband the Historical Society and direct that all future ornaments should honor himself. But no. He wouldn’t do that, would he?

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate