President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump spent their afternoon Sunday taking calls from children wanting to know Santa’s whereabouts, as they eagerly awaited his arrival on Christmas Day.
The children’s calls to NORAD’s Santa tracking program were patched through to the Trump residence in Mar-a-Lago, where the First Family is spending Christmas.
The president spoke to at least 12 children from all over the country, ranging in ages five to 12. The first lady spoke to at least ten children, who ranged from ages seven to 12.
According to a pool of journalists covering the president, Trump asked Casper, 5, from Virginia, “What would you like more than anything?”
“Building blocks, that’s what I’ve always liked too. I always loved building blocks. … Well I predict Santa will bring you building blocks, so many you won’t be able to use them all.”
Trump also told another child, “So you want your grandma to get out of the hospital? That’s what your wish is? That’s great. That’s better than asking for some toy or something, that’s much better, right?”
“So your grandma’s gonna be good, okay, she’s gonna be good,” he told him.
The first lady was heard asking one child, “How are you? Merry Christmas. Are you tracking Santa? Do you know where he is right now?”
She asked them if they made their lists and assured them that Santa was on his way.
“As soon as you go to sleep, Santa will be there,” she said.
NORAD noted that its mission had now reached the “highest level of government,” with the president and first lady’s involvement:
#NORADTracksSanta’s mission has reached the highest level of government. President Trump and the First Lady are working with NORAD to answer your calls. Call 1-877-HI-NORAD.
— NORAD Tracks Santa (@NoradSanta) December 24, 2017
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is the military command in charge of defending the airspace over North America. It has helped children track Santa as he makes his journey since 1958.
In 1955, a local media advertisement encouraged children to call Santa directly, but misprinted the phone number, so instead of reaching Santa, the calls went to the crew commander at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, which later became NORAD. Thus began the tradition.
Helping track Santa at NORAD are the men and women serving in the New York Air National Guard from the 224th Air Defense Group, as well as a Canadian Forces detachment, Army, Navy and Coast Guard liaison officers, and federal civilians.