Speaking by video conference to members of all five service branches on Christmas morning, Trump said, “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.”
The president was spending a rare Christmas in Washington because of a stalemate with Congress over government funding that has left several departments and agencies shuttered, affecting some 800,000 federal employees.
Trump usually spends Christmas at his Florida estate. He scrapped travel plans because of the shutdown.
He told reporters, “I thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family.”