A comment by President Trump to a 7-year-old caller to NORAD’s Santa Tracker set the internet ablaze Christmas Eve, prompting outrage from Trump critics who blasted the president for “ruining Christmas” for little Collman Lloyd (and used the tweet as an opportunity to accuse Trump of locking kids in cages).
“Are you still a believer in Santa?” Trump asked Collman. “Because at 7, that’s marginal, right?”
Video of the moment went viral:
Trump’s question and follow-up “marginal” comment inspired a series of critical responses by various outlets and celebrities venting their spleen over yet another unforgivable Trumpian gaffe, including the Huffington Post and infamous Trump-beheader Kathy Griffin:
But to his critics’ disappointment, it turns out that the president didn’t actually do to Santa what Griffin did to him for little Collman. In fact, he appears to have made her Christmas that much more special.
The Post and Courier talked with Collman about the viral call and learned that she still believes in Santa and that she clearly appreciated having the chance to speak with President Trump.
Around 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve in her home in Lexington, SC, Collman, curious about where Santa was currently dropping off presents, called NORAD’s Santa Tracker. A scientist answered the hotline and asked Collman if she wanted to talk with President Trump.
“He has a lot to do on the night of Christmas Eve,” Collman said of Trump, who was helping man the phones alongside Melania for a while.
“Are you still a believer in Santa?” Trump asked.
“Yes, sir,” said Collman.
“Because at 7, that’s marginal, right?” said Trump.
“Yes, sir,” she said, admitting to the outlet later that she wasn’t exactly sure what “marginal” meant.
“She didn’t know it, but his comment about her age being marginal — and her response — would spark national news stories that night and the following morning,” the Post and Courier reports.
While she didn’t end up actually learning where Santa was flying at that moment, she was glad she had a chance to talk to the president. “I was like, ‘wow.’ I was shocked,” said Collman. “It wasn’t really (nerve-wracking), I just had to think of what the truth was.”
Her parents filmed the call:
The Post and Courier reports that after the call ended, she and her family, which includes her 10-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother, left cookies and milk out for Santa.
“The next morning, they were gone, and under the tree was a wrapped gift with Lloyd’s name on it: a brand new American Girl doll,” the outlet reports. “Santa is real after all, Lloyd said.”
Asked what she would say to Trump if she had a chance to talk to him again, Collman said, “I would like to ask if he has any kids. I’ve honestly never heard of them or seen any of them so I was wondering.”