Trump Tells Kid Calling Santa Hotline That Believing At His Age Is “Marginal”

President Trump tried to get into the Christmas spirit last night. He failed.

President Trump tried to get with the Christmas spirit last night, but proved himself incapable of doing that:

Hey, kids under 8 years old, thanks for reading The New York Times. But this time, please don’t. Maybe go play Minecraft or something instead.

… O.K., are they gone now? Cool. Here’s what President Trump said to a child about Santa Claus on Monday.

Sadly, we do not know how the 7-year-old, named Coleman, responded to the president of the United States’ suggestion that his parents had been lying to him all his life and that he would probably get wise to it soon. The president made the comments from the White House while he and the first lady, Melania Trump, fielded calls from a hotline for children wondering where Santa was.

Not surprisingly, this didn’t go over very well on social media.

On some level, I suppose, it’s a legitimate question because seven or eight is roughly the age at which children stop believing in Santa Claus, either because they hear the truth from friends, because they discover where Mom and Dad hide the presents, or, as was the case for me around that age, they just figure it out on their own. But if a kid is calling the hotline “tracking” Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve it’s pretty obvious that they still believe in Santa Claus. Seriously, Mr. President can’t you do anything right?

Now, this is a War On Christmas!

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    A man who believes nonsense and lies every time he opens his mouth thinks a 7 year-old believing in Santa Claus is marginal? What does that say about the people who believe an orange psychopath cares about folks like them?

  2. Teve says:

    Response I saw on Twitter: “This is the one time we needed him to lie!”

  3. CSK says:

    Next he’ll say he doesn’t believe in God, and all his fundie followers will nod in enthusiastic agreement.

  4. moosebreath says:

    “Seriously, Mr. President can’t you do anything right?”


    This is another edition of simple answers to stupid questions.

  5. Kathy says:

    I’m suddenly reminded of a scene where Lionel Tribbey asks President Bartlett “Have you lost what little was left of your mind?”

  6. Kylopod says:

    How is it possible for a man with such a small dick to be such a big dick?

  7. Franklin says:

    Being President at 72 seems marginal to me.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Somebody much quicker than I at Balloon Juice came up with this: “Hey Mr President, do you still believe in North Korean nuclear disarmament? Because at 72 that’s pretty marginal.”

  9. gVOR08 says:

    Fake news. Obvious that Trump never said it. “Marginal” is three syllables.

  10. CSK says:


    So is “collusion.”

  11. Gustopher says:

    At least he didn’t tell the kid that Santa is an anagram for Satan, and not a very clever anagram at that.

    It could have been worse.

  12. Todd says:

    In the realm of all the things Trump’s done wrong, I’m going to put this one way, way, way down near the bottom of the list. Watching the video, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t have any idea he’s doing anything even potentially wrong … in fact it looks like he’s just having a good time of it (and really it’s not all that unlikely that the kid was laughing too on the other end of the line).

    Donald Trump is obviously a lonely, sad, disturbed old man. As awful as he is at his job and as much as I can’t wait for him to be gone, I’m not going to criticize his misguided attempt to be human and have a laugh and a smile on Christmas

    … especially since 2019 is all but guaranteed to be a (well deserved) very bad year for him.

  13. Pylon says:

    Update: apparently a girl, and apparently not affected because the word “marginal” didn’t make sense to her.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Todd: You give him too much credit. This is a man responsible for the separation of families and the inevitable deaths of at least 2 children. And you don’t think he would gleefully destroy a child’s fantasy of Santa?

    Donald Trump is obviously a lonely, sad, disturbed old man.

    donald trump is a minion of Satan, or I would say so if I thought Satan existed.

  15. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Todd: These Dukakisquesque gaffes matter a lot because they show a lack of social sensibility and of compassion that for sure influences Trump’s worst and most brutal political decisions. If Trump does not care if a child believes in Santa he also does not care about children being separated from their parents.

  16. Todd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Andre Kenji de Sousa: @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    You guys make my point. Donald Trump has done plenty of truly horrible things (e.g. the child separation policy). To make a big deal about a bad Santa joke almost has the effect of taking away from the really big deal that should continue to be made every day about the truly serious offenses this administration continues to commit.

  17. KM says:

    @Todd :
    It’s kinda like a serial killer kicking a puppy. Obviously being a serial killer is the more heinous crime but people can be callous towards their fellow humans and rationalize away the horror. Victims will get blamed, people will start philosophizing on right and wrong, “mental illness” will be trotted out to excuse crimes, etc…. but show that killer kicking a puppy? The vast majority will declare him an utter bastard on the spot and be more likely to condemn him for his other crimes they might have excused prior.

    People are weird creatures – we’re conditioned to accept horrors on a global level and reject personal slights. A Trumpkin OK with putting innocent brown kids in cages would be horrified he ruined the Santa fantasy for an innocent white girl and that might be the chink in the armor to get them thinking about how horrible he is in general. If that’s what it takes to break through to someone, then so be it.

  18. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    I live in the Southern Hemisphere in a country that the majority of the population is not White, so, a Lily White dude with winter clothing in the weight of the summer always seemed out of place. I don’t live in a culture where people care about children and Santa.

    But I don’t think that’s really a scandal. The whole ridiculousness is part of the package.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: No, only two–clue/zhyun. (say it fast and see if the schwa-ed first “o” doesn’t almost disappear).

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: You’re reminding me of seeing
    W Bush in the middle of some statement get half way through “nuclear” properly, “nuke-lee”, then stop dead in mid-word, go into his patented deer-in-the-headlights look apparently going, ‘What was it Rove said I should say in my fake Texas accent?’, then restart and say “nookler”.