US President Donald Trump has come under criticism after he asked a 7-year-old child whether she still believed in Santa Claus.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who were to attend Christmas Eve services at Washington National Cathedral on Monday night, talked to children over the phone and answered their questions about Santa.
The kids were calling to get through to NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which uses its radar system to track Santa on his trip around the world every Christmas Eve. Some of those calls were patched through to Trump and his wife.
Talking to the girl, named Collman Lloyd, Trump asked, “Are you still a believer in Santa?”
After listening for a moment, the president said, “Because at 7, it’s marginal, right?” He listened again and smiled before saying, “Well, you just enjoy yourself.”
The question sparked a storm of tweets from lawmakers, media figures and social media users.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) took to Twitter, criticizing the president for giving such a response.
And British-American academic and producer Michael Tracey said on Twitter that “Trump ribbing a little kid about believing in Santa is pretty darn funny.”
Many critics said that Trump may have ruined Christmas for a young child by implying that Santa did not exist.
The New York Times published an article, named “Kids, Please Don’t Read This Article on What Trump Said About Santa Claus,” and later tweeted about it.
Several other media figures and Twitter users negatively reacted to the comments, with one of them describing the president as a “Supervillian.”
Another user said what is true “about a pathological liar is they never know when it’s the right time to tell the truth.”
According to the Post and Courier, which talked to the girl who is from South Carolina, Collman said she had never heard the word “marginal” before.
Collman told the paper she still believed in Santa, and this is exactly what she told the president.