The short message was released on Sunday by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (emphasis added):
“Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.
“Even as we celebrate, we must also remember those among us who are less fortunate. Many on this day are without hope, and need the kindness and compassion of those around them. It is our prayer we will rise to meet the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals all around us, and what better day is there to love our fellow man than today?
“As we open presents, enjoy Christmas dinner, and celebrate our own family traditions, we are mindful of our men and women in uniform. Many are stationed around the world today protecting our freedoms, and cannot be with their own spouses, children, parents, and siblings. We express the deepest gratitude for service that takes them away from celebrating with loved ones, and we ought to remember them in our thoughts and prayers not just on Christmas Day, but the whole year round.”
Many were outraged after reading the first paragraph, assuming the reference to a “new King” was about President-elect Donald Trump.
RNC spokesman and Trump’s soon-to-be White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, defended Preibus’ statement on CNN, saying the ‘new King” reference was definitely not about Trump.
"Christ is the King in the Christian faith," he told CNN.
Spicer also tweeted that is was “sad & disappointing you are politicizing such a holy day.”