Some of the right-wing media attacks on the Bidens' Christmas celebrations over a festive background

Molly Butler / Media Matters

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Right-wing media declare war on the Bidens' Christmas

Right-wing media immediately began attacking the Biden White House’s Christmas celebration after First Lady Jill Biden posted a video to social media showing a tap dance company performing among the White House decorations in costumes meant to represent the holiday classic The Nutcracker. Many of the objections from conservatives seemingly criticized the inclusion of Black performers as evidence of “wokeness” or diversity, equity, and inclusion programs undermining holiday tradition, or claimed that the dance company itself is “anti-white.” 

These bizarre attacks follow more than a decade of “War on Christmas” coverage from right-wing media, which claimed that Democrats would ban observances of the holiday and wove together isolated Christmas anecdotes to stoke outrage that they often covered over much more newsworthy events, including actual wars.

  • Right-wing media blast the Biden White House’s Christmas celebrations

    • Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller: “This is a crime against Christmas.” [Twitter/X, 12/14/23
    • Newsmax host Eric Bolling said, “The Biden family has perverted just about every single one of our institutions. Christmas is inevitably on their list, too.” Bolling lamented that this interpretation of The Nutcracker is “garish, and replete with tasteless perversions,” calling it “avant-garde and beyond woke,” and saying: “Nothing is sacred. Nothing is normal.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance, 12/14/23]
    • Newsmax host Rob Schmitt: “It's very strange and of course, it's diverse as hell. They had to do that. It had to be a DEI video.” Schmitt also said the Biden White House was “trashing tradition yet again.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 12/14/23
    • Fox News host Jesse Watters: “They called Melania's Christmas an all-white Christmas. That would make Jill's Christmas an anti-white Christmas because the dancing group … supports critical race theory, Black Lives Matter, the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, and the 1619 Project. Oh, and they also want to abolish ICE, abolish prisons, and defund the police.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 12/14/23]
    • Newsmax guest Amber Athey Duke said that Christmas had “been degraded under the Biden administration — it’s really not an overstatement I think to say that they are ruining Christmas with these type of displays, and it’s clear that they're trying to use the holiday as a means to divide Americans and as a means to, you know, pursue a political agenda rather than celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.” In the same segment, guest Curtis Houck said, “This is DEI come to life,” adding, “We've got this, you know, freak display here where we're just trying to check as many boxes in terms of people and genders and sexualities in a video.” [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports, 12/14/23]
    • Fox News: “Dance company featured in Jill Biden’s Christmas video promotes ‘prison abolition,’ ‘defund the police’ groups.” [, 12/14/23
    • The Post Millennial: “Dance company hired by Biden White House for Christmas video has radical far-left, anti-white policies.” The article noted the group “encourages people to give money to anti-police groups and LGBTQIA+ causes as well.” [The Post Millennial, 12/14/23
    • On Fox’s The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld said, “This is just another example of how the White House just plays to the optics of wokeness and they don't do any research.” Gutfeld added: “This dance troupe is a Marxist organization … they came out in support of defunding the police, abolishing prisons, and they quote Marxist terrorist Angela Davis. They have an entire section on the website devoted to anti-white literature like why white feminists are racists. They want to defund the NYPD and get them out of public schools. I don't think Jill Biden did her research.” [Fox News, The Five, 12/14/23
    • On Fox Business’ The Bottom Line, guest Monica Crowley attacked the Biden administration for choosing “a radical, left-wing, basically communist activist dance group to do this video for Christmas. …. Nothing screams ‘happy holidays’ like ‘defund the police.’” Co-host Dagen McDowell added, “We can assume, Monica, that Joe Biden and company agree with this group's platform. It has to be the reason they picked them.” [Fox Business, The Bottom Line with Dagen and Duffy, 12/14/23]
    • The Federalist: “Jill Biden’s ‘Hunger Games’ Themed Christmas Video Is An Abomination.” The article claimed “the dance performance isn’t just weird; it’s another opportunity for the Biden White House to slip anti-white racism and radical Marxism into the country’s Christmas celebrations.” [The Federalist, 12/14/23]
    • Newsmax host Chris Salcedo: “That's what happens when you let fake Catholics try to do Christmas.” [Newsmax, The Chris Salcedo Show, 12/14/23
    • Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro: “This performance is being touted by the White House for precisely the same reason Claudine Gay is still president of Harvard. DEI makes everything crappier.” Shapiro added in another post: “Dorrance Dance is a thoroughly woke tap dance company whose founder writes that the history of tap dance must be told as ‘the never-ending struggle against systemic racism and white supremacy in this country.’” [Twitter/X, 12/14/23, 12/14/23]
    • OAN host Dan Ball: “You are seeing the absolute clown-ass circus that Jill Biden and Joe Biden put into our White House. … They're making a mockery of this country, a mockery of Christmas.” Ball added that the dance company is “a bunch of gender-fluid dancers who on their own website promote anti-racism because of white privilege and whiteness, and also defunding the police. That’s who they hired to put on Christmas at your White House, folks.” [OAN, Real America with Dan Ball, 12/14/23
    • Fox host Jimmy Failla said, “After watching Jill Biden’s Christmas video, we’ve finally figured out whose cocaine it was in the White House.” He added that “no sober person greenlit this.” [Fox News, Hannity, 12/14/23
    • On Newsmax, guest host Rob Astorino said, “It’s not insane to say whoever’s idea this was for using this video was maybe using some drugs.” Astorino later added, “It’s sort of like a Hunter Biden dream – one of those days on the floor in a hotel.” [Newsmax, American Agenda, 12/14/23]
    • Anti-trans account Libs of TikTok: “This should’ve come with a sensitivity label. This is horrendous.” [Twitter/X, 12/13/23]
    • Misogynistic right-wing commentator Andrew Tate: “This is dystopian. If I believed in fear - I would be afraid.” [Twitter/X, 12/14/23
    • Conservative media personality and serial plagiarist Benny Johnson: “This is a war crime.” [Twitter/X, 12/14/23
    • Right-wing radio host Jesse Kelly claimed the White House Christmas video “is aimed at the beating heart of the Democrat Party: Mentally ill women on anxiety meds.” [Twitter/X, 12/14/23
    • Racist, anti-immigrant website VDare described the video as: “Dystopia, colorized.” [Twitter/X, 12/14/23]
  • These attacks on the Bidens’ Christmas celebrations follow nearly 20 years of conservative media covering the nonexistent “War on Christmas”

    • In 2021, Fox News used the burning of its corporate Christmas tree outside of its Manhattan headquarters to attack liberal policies, progressive activists, various Democratic politicians, and even progressive philanthropist George Soros. Fox Business host Stuart Varney called the arson part of “the war on religion, and this desecration of faith.” Then-Fox host Tucker Carlson framed it as a “hate crime.” [Media Matters, 12/9/21]
    • On one December morning in 2020, Fox & Friends spent 18 minutes of coverage on segments about a young boy denied a Nerf gun by a shopping mall’s Santa Claus and a Minnesota nurse who got one anonymous letter complaining about her Christmas lights, while ignoring the deaths of more than 2,600 Americans from COVID-19 the day before. [Media Matters, 12/9/20]
    • In 2019, Fox contributor Deroy Murdock complained that Democrats were voting to impeach then-President Donald Trump during Christmas. Then-Fox Business host Trish Regan also became irate over the fact that Starbucks' annual holiday cups said “Merry Coffee” instead of “Merry Christmas,” a move she was convinced had been driven by political correctness. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/6/19; Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2018, Fox host Laura Ingraham obsessed over a made-up story about people on the left wanting to “ban” Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer based on a video HuffPost published jokingly calling the 1964 Christmas film “the worst.” Fox News reported on the video as though it is a sincere call to ban the film and ran multiple stories about it online. [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2017, Fox & Friends claimed “The War on Christmas is gaining speed” after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority rejected an ad from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., because it depicted a religious scene. Then-Fox Business host Lou Dobbs also credited Trump for “seeing far more in the way of Christmas displays, Christmas lights ... and so much obvious joy.” [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2016, a Jewish family fled their home in fear after stories from Fox News and Breitbart suggested they could be partially to blame for the cancellation of an elementary school Christmas play. The family said they feared another “pizza incident,” referencing a situation in which a man opened fire in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria after reading fake news stories. [Media Matters, 12/22/16]
    • In 2015, Fox & Friends First claimed that Starbucks was trying to “bah humbug Christmas” by going with a more minimal red design, rather than Christmas images, for its annual holiday cup. O’Reilly Factor guest Dennis Miller also said that an Ohio man’s zombie nativity display is proof that “it’s open season” on Christians. [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2014, then-Fox host Bill O’Reilly, who began Fox’s obsession with the “War on Christmas,” claimed Muslims requesting school holidays had “wiped out all of our traditions” as part of a war on Christmas. [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • On Veteran’s Day in 2013, Fox host Sean Hannity spent twice as much time discussing the so-called “War on Christmas” as the actual wars whose veterans we honor on that holiday. Then-Fox host Megyn Kelly also reacted to a Slate article on the race of Santa Claus by saying: “For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.” [Media Matters, 11/12/13; Fox News, The Kelly File, 12/11/13]
    • In December 2012, The O’Reilly Factor covered the “War on Christmas” more than three times as much as wars in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa. [Media Matters, 12/19/12]
    • In 2011, right-wing media began its annual “War on Christmas” coverage by fabricating claims that the Obama administration was taxing Christmas trees. In fact, the small assessment was paid by Christmas tree producers to fund a Department of Agriculture program designed to increase sales of live Christmas trees. [Media Matters, 11/9/11]
    • In 2010, multiple Fox programs covered a decision by Tulsa, Oklahoma, to host a “holiday parade” instead of a “Christmas parade” as “a “topic of national controversy.” Fox & Friends also pushed a bogus story about a central Florida school banning “traditional Christmas colors.” [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2009, right-wing media attacked the Obamas’ Christmas celebrations, fabricating a controversy focused on the inclusion of three ornaments on the Christmas tree in the White House’s Blue Room. In fact those three ornaments — out of 800 on the tree — had been among hundreds donated by local organizations. [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2006, O’Reilly claimed that some retailers were “ordering their people not to say ‘Merry Christmas’” under threat of being fired, even though the stores had no such policy. [Media Matters, 12/23/19]
    • In 2005, O’Reilly promised to “use all the power” he has “on radio and television to bring horror into the world of people” who “diminish and denigrate the holiday.” He baselessly suggested that former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry would have “abolished” Christmas as a federal holiday had he won the 2004 election, replacing it with “winter solstice or something.” O’Reilly also declared “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” were offensive to Christians before taking the exact opposite position next month, saying, “‘Happy Holidays’ is fine. Just don't ban ‘Merry Christmas.’” [Media Matters, 12/23/19]