(White House Press Release, December 15, 2020; Photo Credit: First Lady Melania Trump Facebook Page)
Today, First Lady Melania Trump made her fourth annual holiday visit to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Trump continued this First Lady holiday tradition of visiting with young patients and their families who are unable to spend the holidays in the comfort of their homes. The tradition dates back more than 70 years.
During this year’s visit, the First Lady read “Oliver the Ornament Meets Marley & Joan and Abbey,” by author Todd Zimmerman, to a small group of socially-distanced patients and their families in the hospital’s atrium. The reading was broadcast to the hospital’s 325 inpatient rooms so that children and their families could watch the reading from the safety of their rooms.
Mrs. Trump also visited Seacrest Studios, where she led a holiday-themed round of bingo with the children. Bingo is one of the most popular activities at Children’s National and it has become a way to spread cheer to the children in an environment that seems less serious and more fun, and helps to encourage the young patients through challenging parts of their day. Mrs. Trump kicked off the game by reading the cards until patients announced “Bingo.” The First Lady interacted with the patients via phone and confirmed that each was the winner and congratulated them. The game was live-streamed to the patient rooms allowing children throughout the hospital to safely play along.
Following her visit, The First Lady stated: “This is my fourth year visiting Children’s National Hospital during the holiday season and I was excited to be invited back this year to continue this time-honored tradition. This is one of my favorite events of the season and it was a joy to spend the afternoon reading a holiday inspired story and safely interact with the patients, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to find a safe way to spread a little Christmas cheer to all of the courageous and brave children at Children’s National. They are all heroes who truly radiate the spirit and meaning of the season.”
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event was limited in numbers of in-person participants and all guests were required to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing. The visit followed the hospital’s mask protocols for public speakers, based on the District of Columbia health guidance, that wearing a mask is not required when a person is giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker. Throughout the holiday program, the First Lady was more than twelve feet away from others in the four-story atrium. Today’s visit, broadcast to 325 inpatient hospital rooms, followed these guidelines.