President Donald Trump is reportedly replacing the National Christmas Tree this week, and it is not coming cheap. The new decoration will come with a six-figure price tag — even higher than last year's tree-lighting ceremony, according to a report by TMZ. All in all, the additional costs are beginning to add up since President Trump took office.
Planting the new National Christmas Tree reportedly costs $163,984 in total, and lighting it will cost even more. The tree comes from Pennsylvania originally, but was moved to President's Park in Washington, D.C. back in October by the National Park Service. It is a 30-foot tall Colorado blue spruce, and it replaces the tree that was planted there just last year.
At the time, a man damaged the National Christmas Tree badly by climbing inside of it, behind the lights and inside the most delicate limbs. He got up pretty high before police intervened, pulling the struggling climber down. He was hospitalized for a mental evaluation and described as experiencing "emotional distress."
Now, the federal government says that the tree damaged in that incident needed to be replaced, raising the price of the already costly tree-lighting ceremony. Documents reportedly show that the government paid $163,984 to a tree company to plant the new seasonal decoration, which will stand in the park year-round. It is the sixth National Christmas Tree overall, though the previous one only stood from 2012 to 2018.
Meanwhile, the White House will pay big money for the tree-lighting ceremony itself — even more than last year. While 2018's ceremony cost a total of $141,944, this year's tab is reportedly $180,633. The 2018 bill was up from the previous year as well, showing an upward trend in the costs.
The exact source of this price increase is unclear, but it all comes from taxpayer money. The tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for Thursday night, bringing President's Park and the nation's capitol as a whole into the holiday spirit.
Yet no money for meals on wheels for elderly impoverished?— Steven Las Vegan (@StevenLasVegan) December 4, 2019
As news of the costly National Christmas Tree spread online, some taxpayers chimed in saying that they would rather their money go to more practical efforts. For starters, some asked for more funding for Meals On Wheels, a program that President Trump has cut funding to during his time in office.
The tradition of the National Christmas Tree was established in 1923, and has continued ever since. The president himself typically lights the tree, beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Smaller trees surround it in the park, representing the individual states and the District of Columbia.
The tree-lighting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5.