In an exclusive one-on-one interview with “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt, first lady Melania Trump provided an inside look at the White House’s striking red-themed White House Christmas décor, offered a holiday message to Americans and revealed whether she has a winning present in mind for the president.
Trump and Earhardt toured some of the most iconic locations in the presidential residence, and the first lady offered personal thoughts on what the Christmas displays mean to her.
“Every room has a different representation, and this year it’s a theme of ‘American Treasures,'” Trump said, as she showed off the “harvest room” that “represents what America produces.”
The first lady revealed that the White House had received some 6,000 applications from volunteers looking to help set up the decorations, and settled on about 230 who accomplished “everything” in six days. The administration sought out volunteers from military families.
“So here we are in the Cross Hall and Grand Foyer,” Trump said at the White House’s primary first-floor entrance lined with 29 trees and more than 14,000 ornaments.
“This is representing — you could see the color red. It represents the bravery, heart and patriotism,” she said. The ornaments, Trump explained separately, “represent how each child can excel on their own path — through education, arts, sport, technology — and they could be the best. And they’re beautiful ornaments, as well as handmade — some of them are antique.”
The two continued to the East Room, which often serves as a reception area and backdrop for presidential press conferences. For the 51st consecutive year, the first lady noted, the terra cotta nativity scene donated by Italy in 1967 and complete with a 30-piece creche was on display.
“Here, this represents the diversity of the cities in the United States — we have four mantelpieces,” she said. “They are the skyline of four cities: New York, San Francisco, St. Louis and Chicago.”
“It’s decorated in blue, and then we will see later on the State Room,” Trump told Earhardt, referring to the State Dining Room that plays host to visiting heads of state. “This is red, blue and white.”
“It’s patriotic, and it reminds us of the American flag,” Trump told Earhardt. “We have thousands and thousands of people coming through here and see the decorations. So it’s very exciting.”
The official White House Christmas tree, Trump noted, is from North Carolina and stands at 18 feet tall in the Blue Room. The Fraser fir is adorned with 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon, embroidered in gold with “all the states and territories,” she said.
The White House’s Christmas decorations were met with derision when they were revealed on Monday, with critics claiming they looked like the handmaids’ outfits in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Mainstream left-leaning media outlets such as The Washington Post, USA Today, Time, HuffPost, San Francisco Chronicle and Vice all mocked the decorations, at times masking their disdain by focusing on the backlash of trolls on social media.
But at a town hall Wednesday at Liberty University, the first lady made clear that all the negativity about the decorations — typically a political no-go zone — did not bother her.
“It’s the 21st century, and everybody has different tastes,” she said. “I think they look fantastic. I hope everybody will come over and visit it.”
On a personal note, the first lady told Earhardt that “our whole family’s coming down” to Palm Beach, Fla., to celebrate Christmas. Asked whether she had a plan for a Christmas gift for her husband, Trump suggested there’s still some work to be done.
“Oh, I didn’t think of that — I’m too busy,” she said, laughing. Trump added that “we do sometimes” exchange gifts, but that “I’m so busy now. And it’s very important I focus on this project now.”
As she continues to manage the White House’s Christmas festivities, the first lady offered a message for Americans heading into the final weeks of 2018.
“I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, a prosperous and peaceful New Year,” she said.