Republican National Committee co-Chairs Reince Priebus and Sharon Day released a Christmas message on Dec. 25 celebrating the holiday. But the statement included wording that alluded to President-elect Donald Trump as being a king.
“Merry Christmas to all!” the statement began. “Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.”
Social media was quick to ignite with criticism over the comparison.
“The distinction between a president and a king is not trivial,” Jonathan Chait, a journalist for New York magazine, tweeted on Dec. 25.
“They’re really embracing the Cheeto Jesus thing,” Josh Barro, a journalist with Business Insider and MSNBC, tweeted. “Guys, calm down. The RNC statement isn't about Donald Trump. It's about Vladimir Putin.”
“@reince & @rnc should apologize for using Christmas to compare @realDonaldTrump to Jesus & calling him a ‘new king,’” John Aravosis, an LGBT advocate and journalist, tweeted.
Sean Spicer, the RNC spokesman and incoming White House Press Secretary, tweeted his own response to critics.
“Christ is the King,” his Dec. 25 tweet began. “He was born today so we could be saved. Its sad & disappointing you are politicizing such a holy day.”
According to CNN, Spicer later told the network that the RNC message was not about Trump, but that "Christ is the King in the Christian faith."