A video of President Donald Trump asking a 7-year-old South Carolina girl if she still believes in Santa Claus went viral this week, resulting in newfound criticism of the president.
Now, the parents of the young girl are speaking out, rebuking much of the criticism.
Speaking with Collman Lloyd — a 7-year-old girl from Lexington, South Carolina — on Christmas Eve from the White House, a video, which quickly went viral, showed the president asking Collman if she still believes in Santa Claus — but it was his follow-up statement, which implied Santa is not real, that incited criticism and accusations that Trump had "ruined" Christmas.
"Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at 7 it's marginal, right?" the president said.
Donald Trump, answering phone call from 7-year-old on Christmas Eve: "Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at seven it's marginal, right?" pic.twitter.com/VHexvFSbQ1
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 25, 2018
The internet was fairly split in reaction: Some people found the quip funny while others — not so much. Some critics said:
- "Add stealing a childhood to Trump's list of crimes."
- "A guy who can't be trusted with a photo op call to a kid on Christmas is in charge of our nuclear arsenal."
- "Actually let's change this question to: 'Are you still a believer in our current president? Because at 7, it's marginal.' It'd be much more appropriate, oh yes."
- "He really has no clue how to talk with children, now does he?"
However, Collman's parents weren't on board with the criticism and outrage.
How did Collman's parents respond?
Instead, Collman's father — 40-year-old Donald J. Lloyd — told BuzzFeed News that he would use similar language to speak to his daughter about Santa Claus. He also said he believes Trump's remarks have been "blown out of proportion and unfairly politicized," according to BuzzFeed.
"I think it's crazy it became a big deal. It's Christmastime. I'd love to keep politics out of Christmas," Donald said. "It didn't bother me — I like to talk to my kids like adults."
The family's matriarch concurred.
"I'm a teacher. I'm OK with the vocabulary. He was very kind. I was very impressed with the phone call," Erica Lloyd, a third-grade teacher, told BuzzFeed.
In the end, both parents appreciated how Trump treated their daughter. At first, they thought she was speaking with a pre-recorded message, then they realized Collman was actually speaking with the president.
"He said, 'Happy Christmas ... It was great speaking to you, Collman … Please tell [your family] I wish them a happy Christmas,'" Erica explained. "It made her Christmas."
What did Collman say?
She told BuzzFeed that she didn't understand what the president was trying to say — and especially doesn't know what the word "marginal" means.
"He used it with 'Santa,' so maybe it has something to do with Christmas?" she said in response to a question.
Fortunately for the internet, Collman told BuzzFeed she continues to believe in Santa Claus.