First lady Melania Trump continued a nearly 70-year-long tradition Friday when she made her annual visit to Children’s National Hospital where she met with patients, their families and nursing staff before reading them a children’s book.
She is the latest in a long line of first ladies to visit the Washington, D.C. hospital, starting with Elizabeth "Bess" Truman, the wife of former President Harry Truman, over 60 years ago. Other first ladies who have participated in the tradition are: Jacqueline Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and more recently, Michelle Obama.
During her visit, Trump stopped in a play room to visit with the young patients and participate in an art project centered on the upcoming Christmas holiday.
She spent extra time crafting with three children in particular: 8-year-old Brooke Hilton, 7-year-old Nathalia Vasseur Hoffman and 8-year-old Dwayne Salmon, to whom she offered words of advice and encouragement.
"Hi sweetheart, how are you feeling?” Trump asked Hilton. She continued to make small talk, asking the children when she walked in if they were ”Feeling strong?”
The first lady then went on to ask if they had written to Santa yet.
“He’s so busy right now,” Trump said of Santa Claus. “You should write him this weekend.”
The children spent time reading quotes to her from Dr. Suess’ "Oh, the places you’ll go!"
After spending some time making paper snowflakes, the first lady and the children made their way to the main stage to join the crowd and commence the book reading.
This year, Trump read "Oliver the Ornament Meets Belle," the sequel to "Oliver the Ornament," which she read last year.
"Oliver the Ornament" is a seven-book series that celebrates the tradition and stories of Christmas ornaments. The story focuses on a little ornament who faces challenges, but is able to overcome all odds to save the day.
Joining Trump on stage were none other than Mr. and Mrs. Claus, as well as the book’s author, Todd Zimmerman.
Since launching "Oliver the Ornament," Zimmerman has donated over 3,000 copies of the book to hospitalized children and will be donating a percentage of profits from all books sold to various children’s charities.
Trump also toured the Surgical Care Unit and the Short Stay Unit to visit with patients, their families and the nursing staff.