WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday wished U.S. troops stationed around the country and the world a merry Christmas.
“I know it’s a great sacrifice for you to be away from your families, but I want you to know that every American family is eternally grateful to you, and we’re holding you close in our hearts, thoughts and prayers,” Trump said. “We love what you do and love your work. Amazing people.”
Trump spoke by video conference to members of all five branches of the U.S. military.
The president was spending a rare Christmas in Washington because of a stalemate with Congress that left several government departments and agencies shuttered since the weekend, affecting the livelihoods of some 800,000 federal employees.
Trump usually spends Christmas at his Florida estate. He scrapped plans to travel to Palm Beach because of the shutdown.
“I thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family,” he told reporters in the Oval Office after the give and take with members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard from their stations in Guam, Bahrain, Qatar and Alaska.
“My family is in Florida, Palm Beach, and I just didn’t want to go down and be there when other people are hurting,” Trump said. He didn’t say which family members were at the Mar-a-Lago estate.