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Who gets a White House Christmas card, and why

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"Who gets White House Christmas cards? And can you get me on the list?”

This is a request Decoder has fielded occasionally over the years. It’s usually made by someone who lives in a distant city and mistakenly thinks D.C. print reporting is a swirl of state dinners and glamorous repartee.

Our short answers to the above are “not you” and “no.” Decoder doesn’t get presidential holiday greetings either. Not anymore. (More on that later.)

The longer reply is that White House holiday cards go to political supporters, people who the administration wishes were political supporters, people who have fooled the administration into thinking they are political supporters, and staff. And the staff’s friends. And, yes, the media.

A political list of recipients

The key word here is “political.” That should not be a surprise. For any president, much of what appears to be part of normal life, even the acquisition of pets and the choice of vacations, is examined for political implications.

Remember, the government does not pay for the cards. The political parties do. So the best way to get one is to give money to the parties. If you want to make sure you get a card no matter who wins a presidential election, give to both.


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