By David Nakamura
In a St. Louis suburb this week to sell the Republican tax bill, President Trump appeared on stage with twin symbols of his vision of the country’s heritage — a pair of American flags and a row of Christmas trees, adorned with red, white and blue ornaments.
“I told you that we would be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said, eliciting roars of approval from hundreds of supporters at the St. Charles Convention Center.
The theme had little to do with the president’s push on taxes, aside from a reference early in his 46-minute speech that tax cuts would serve as a“big, beautiful Christmas present” to the economy. But the backdrop made clear that a president who has repeatedly used the flag to win leverage in a debate over the meaning of NFL players’ protests during the national anthem was prepared to weaponize the trees in another front in the culture wars.
Trump was signaling to his base that he was following through on a campaign promise to shelve what he and his supporters view as political correctness aimed at marginalizing the nation’s Christian majority in the name of diversity.
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