Melania Trump warned of a bleak Christmas season this year and implored for extra kindness during a Toys for Tots event with the Marines on Tuesday.
In her remarks, the first lady reminded people that during the coronavirus pandemic, many families will be separated for the holidays.
Medical experts have asked people not to gather outside their households this holiday season as COVID-19 infections are on the rise across the United States. Over the past week, there has been an average of 201,756 cases per day.
Her remarks were a notable change in tone than that of her husband’s. President Donald Trump has encouraged the nation to ‘get back to normal,’ as he said Tuesday afternoon at his Operation Warp Speed Summit.
Melania Trump, however, encouraged the children to check on their neighbors and make holiday cards for those in nursing homes.
‘Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, many Americans are spending the holidays separated from their loved ones and have to change routines they’ve had for many years,’ she said.
‘Remember that small acts of kindness such as calling your friends and neighbors or making holiday cards for a nearby nursing home can go a long way in spreading cheer and helping those struggling with change,’ she added.
Melania Trump joined Marines for their annual Toy for Tots Drive
Melania Trump warned of a bleak Christmas season this year and implored for extra kindness during the holiday season
The first lady helps one of the children apply hand sanitizer during the event
Melania Trump joined the children in making holiday cards for the troops overseas
One little girl made a card for Melania Trump
President Trump declined to offer his advice on what to do for December holidays, bypassing the question when it was asked to him during his summit on Tuesday.
‘The CDC puts out their important guidelines. I think that the vaccine was our goal. That was number one,’ he said.
Melania Trump, meanwhile, joined children in sorting toys, making holiday cards for troops overseas and greeting military families during her visit to the Toys for Tots event.
It’s the fourth time she’s joined the Marines in their signature charity program as she wraps up her tenure in the White House.
She wore a face mask as she and the children carried toys to boxes marked ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ – dividing them up by gender. She also wore a midnight blue Ralph Lauren Pea Coat over a cream-colored turtleneck and pants with Manolo Blahnik plaid pumps.
The first lady was unfazed as the children excitedly ran from toy table to toy box to the card making station. She calmly carried toys to their proper location, bent to talk to children who wanted to speak to her and posed for pictures with those who asked.
She also drew cards with kids to send to troops overseas, using markers to draw on construction paper and praising the children who showed off their art work to her.
Melania Trump ended her creative arts time with a squirt of hand sanitizer and helped the kids clean their hands with it.
‘Stay well and stay safe,’ she told the children. Most of them wore face masks for her visit except for the very young.
A few kids made holiday cards for her, which she thanked them.
Melania Trump arrives for the annual Marine Toys for Tots Drive at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling – her fourth visit to the charity program
Melania Trump and the children divided donated gifts into ‘boy’ boxes and ‘girl’ boxes
The first lady helps the kids put the toys in their proper bin
The first lady carries a drawing one of the children gave her
Melania Trump talks with with children as they make Christmas cards for troops overseas
Melania Trump also greeted and thanked military families during her visit
She watches as the children make holiday cards for the troops
Surrounded by stuffed animals sitting on a military vehicle, a U.S. Secret Service agent stands watch as First Lady Melania Trump participates in the annual Marine Toys for Tots Drive
Melania Trump is completing her time in the White House with the inauguration of the new president 43 days away. She’s unveiled her final round of Christmas decorations – the theme was ‘America the Beautiful.’
And, on Monday, she announced the completion of the new White House tennis pavilion – a project she began in 2018 and that will be part of her White House legacy.
The completion comes as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take over the White House on January 20th. And it follows Melania Trump’s other major restoration project: a refurbishment of the White House Rose Garden.
The pavilion project included the refurbishment of the White House Tennis Court and Grandchildren’s Garden along with construction of the new building, the first lady’s office noted in its announcement.
Photos provided by the White House show a new structure that replaced an older storage shed. It resembles a mini-White House and seating areas can be seen through the windows. The white table cloths and chairs resemble those one would find in a country club.
First lady Melania Trump is wrapping up her tenure in the White House; she’s unveiled her final round of holiday decorations with the theme of ‘America the Beautiful’
Melania Trump announced the completion of the White House tennis pavilion
A before photo of the pavilion shows the old structure the first lady had replaced
The completion of the tennis pavilion follows the first lady’s other restoration project: the White House Rose Garden
President Barack Obama has the tennis court converted into a basketball court
The building’s resemblance to the White House was planned, the East Wing said, in order to have the structure blend into the existing ones on the 18 acres of White House grounds. The design was inspired by the East and West Wings of the executive mansion and includes a colonnade, parapet wall, and fanlight windows.
President Barack Obama had turned the tennis court into one also suitable for basketball so he could indulge in his favorite sport. Melania Trump took it back to its tennis roots.
The cost was taken care of by private donations, which the East Wing has not publicly named nor said how much it came to.
The pavilion sits near Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden on the South Lawn and is not open to the public.
Planning for the project began in 2018 and Melania Trump formally broke ground on it in October of last year.
‘I am pleased to announce the completion of the Tennis Pavilion on the White House grounds. Thank you to all of the talented craftsmen who made this project possible and to the generous supporters of the White House,’ Melania Trump said in a statement on Monday. ‘It is my hope that this private space will function as both a place of leisure and gathering for future First Families.’
On Twitter, she noted the pavilion’s historic nature.
‘Preserving this historic landmark is vital & I want to thank all who helped complete this project,’ she wrote.
The first lady was accused of being tone deaf back in March when she provided an update on the construction. At the time, the coronavirus was beginning to spread more heavily and there was talk a lock down would be needed.