While President Obama may have left the White House, rumours claiming the former president had banned the Nativity Scene from his Pennsylvania Avenue residence still remain very much in circulation.
Various fake stories and online social media posts have made various claims that during President Obama’s tenure, the former president had banned the Christian nativity scene from the White House, and that he ordered Christmas trees to be referred to as Holiday Trees.
The rumours circulated nearly every year during Obama’s 8 year term, and are subsequently ignited during Christmas as many online spectators claim that Obama’s successor, President Trump, had “put Christ back into the White House.”
However, despite the claims, there indeed was a traditional Nativity Scene at the White House during every year in which President Obama was in office. In fact, according to the White House website, the same Nativity display – carved in Naples, Italy and later donated to the White House – can be seen in the East Room since the 1960s.
We picked the year 2015, Obama’s 7th year. From the archived White House website –
A long-standing holiday tradition—the White House crèche—graces this room. The nativity scene made of terra cotta and intricately carved wood was fashioned in Naples, Italy in the eighteenth century. Donated to the White House in the 1960s, this piece has sat in the East Room for the holidays for more than forty-five years, spanning nine administrations.
In fact, images of the Nativity Scene on display were not difficult to locate. Again, this image is from 2015, Obama’s 7th year –
The same Nativity Scene is on display in the East Room in 2017, the Trump’s first Christmas at the White House.
This rumour is also coupled with another claiming that during Obama’s tenure at the White House he banned the word Christmas Tree, instead opting for Holiday Tree. Again this is easily to dismiss since one can find any number of examples of Obama referring to Christmas trees or ample examples in the White House archives of the decorations being referred to as Christmas trees for every year Obama was in office.