President Donald Trump answered Christmas Eve telephone calls from children anxious to locate Santa.

Trump asked one child whether he still believed in Santa and told another “I’ll talk to you again.” First lady Melania Trump joined the president and told a caller Santa was in the Sahara. Several minutes later, she reported that Santa was far away in Morocco but would be at the caller’s home on Christmas morning.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program wasn’t affected by the government shutdown. It’s run by volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado using pre-approved Defense Department funding.

The program became a Christmas Eve tradition after a child mistakenly called the forerunner to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in 1955 and asked to speak to Santa.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump each speak on the phone sharing updates to track Santa's movements from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump each speak on the phone sharing updates to track Santa’s movements from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Trump, who had been scheduled to leave for his Florida vacation home on Friday, has opted instead to stay at the White House during the shutdown so far, which occurred after he and top lawmakers failed to end an impasse over funding for his proposed wall along the border with Mexico.

Instead of enjoying the warmth of the Florida sun, Trump has spent the lead-up to the holiday meeting with lawmakers and Cabinet officials.

“I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone sharing updates to track Santa’s movements from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

But with the children, Trump appeared to keep things light as he sat beside his wife, Melania, in front of a roaring fireplace beneath a portrait of former President Abraham Lincoln, according to Reuters.

“Are you still a believer in Santa?” he asked the children.

Source: The Associated Press & Reuters