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Move over Santa, Trump doles out unexpected gifts for Christmas

(White House)

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Move over, Santa Clause, because there’s a new gift giver in town this year.

Not only has President Donald Trump blessed America’s men and women in uniform with an unprecedented 3.1 percent pay raise this Christmas, but he’s similarly blessed all federal employees with an extra day off from work for the second year in a row.

“All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, the day before Christmas Day,” the president decreed in an executive order signed last week.

Of course, for the sake of national security, certain “heads of executive departments and agencies” have been granted the authority to apply a waiver to the rule,  just in case.

But unless something unexpected happens, all federal employees are hereby granted the right to skip work and sleep in on Tuesday but still get paid for working anyway. Lucky!

This marks the second time the president has done such a thing.

“All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2018, the day before Christmas Day,” he decreed in a similar EO last Christmas.

There was just one catch. Whereas it appears that this year the EO will wind up applying to everybody, last year it applied to everybody but the president and his top staff.

As seen in the photos and tweets below, he remained on duty at the White House to tend to certain affairs, including discussions regarding the then-ongoing government shutdown:

Thanks to intransigence from House Democrats, who’d triggered the government shutdown by refusing to sign onto an omnibus spending bill that’d been passed by the House, the president chose to forego his traditional Christmas activities altogether.

Instead he and first lady Melania Trump spent almost all of the holiday season at the White House working (save for a brief visit to the U.S. troops stationed in Iraq). And despite claims from the media, which tried to dismiss the move as a “show,” the president, in fact, did complete an impressive amount of work.

He continued working with Chinese President Xi Jinping toward a trade deal:

He attempted to negotiate with Democrats over the shutdown:

And he kept the public updated about the murder of a California police officer and legal immigrant named Ronil Singh:

Congressional Democrats meanwhile partied. Take current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The then-House minority leader was spotted at the time vacationing at an upscale Hawaii resort where rooms ranged from $899 per night to $4,899 per night.

“The resort, on Hawaii’s Big Island, features a golf course, six restaurants, and a 10,000-square-foot oceanfront pool,” the Washington Free Beacon reported at the time.

“It also features a ‘Spa Without Walls,’ where the 110-minute Ali’i Royal Experience is available for $369 and a 50-minute couples massage runs $549, according to the spa menu. While at the spa, guests can snack on a gluten-free grilled prawn summer roll for $19.”

Nice …

Dovetailing back to this year, the president reportedly intends to spend Christmas at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. As for Pelosi, assuming she returns to her home district for the holidays, she may want to consider watching her step

Vivek Saxena

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