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Still believe in Santa at your age? Trump ignites Twitter storm

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump set off a social media storm when he asked whether a seven-year-old was too old to believe in Santa Claus, capping a week of plunging stocks, a government shutdown and the US Defence Chief's departure.

Twitter lit up after Mr Trump made his remark during an event with First Lady Melania Trump, taking calls from children calling the North American Aerospace Defence Command Santa tracker. Called Norad Tracks Santa, a Christmas tradition since 1955, the tracker givesreal-time "updates" on Saint Nick's Christmas Eve journey.

In such a call, Mr Trump asked a seven-year-old: "Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at seven, it's marginal, right?"

Instantly, Twitter was filled with messages railing against Mr Trump for sounding as if he was casting doubts on a cherished fantasy of childhood.

"It's just too freaking fantastic that Trump spent his Christmas Eve calling seven-year-olds and telling them believing in Santa at their age is 'marginal'," Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said on his Twitter account.

Others defended Mr Trump.

"Trump does a lot of things wrong but suggesting to a seven-year-old that Santa doesn't exist is probably the one right thing he's done," said a man identified on his Twitter account as Irtiza Sheikh.

"Someone's gotta do it."

Mr Trump cancelled his holiday at his Florida estate because of the partial US government shutdown, which began last week after a dispute over funding for his proposed border wall.

Stuck in Washington on Christmas, Mr Trump assailed the Fed for raising interest rates, railed against Democrats who refuse to fund his wall, and blasted the investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia.

He then closed with: "It's a disgrace, what's happening in our country. But other than that, I wish everyone a very merry Christmas." - REUTERS

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