Melania Trump responds to criticism over White House Christmas decorations

Floats and performers thrill the large crowd as they move down Dee street during the Southland Christmas Parade in Invercargill on Saturday

The first lady will do the honors, ' he said, gesturing to his wife, standing next to him in a white coat with a white turtle neck underneath, white leather gloves, white boots, and with her hair in an updo.

She didn't lash out at her critics, nor did she back down from her decision.

In an interview at Liberty University Wednesday as part of a town hall on the opioid crisis, Trump was asked what she has to say about the media's coverage of her Christmas decorations.

"I hope everybody will come over and visit it", she said.

Some asked if they symbolised the robes worn by women in dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale and others said they represented President Donald Trump's alleged collusion with former communist state Russian Federation.

Santa visits Invercargill with his reindeer during the Southland Christmas Parade
John Hawkins Santa visits Invercargill with his reindeer during the Southland Christmas Parade

As the students are entering into a "critical stage" of their lives as they begin living on their own, paying bills, managing homework and jobs, and soon to have families of their own, the first lady said she imagines that some of them may be faced with drugs at one point in their life. "I think they look fantastic", Ms Trump said.

At the panel event, Mrs Trump also spoke about her son Barron, saying the 12-year-old is "all into sports" so did not spend time on social media.

She noted legislation that US President Donald Trump recently signed to help tackle the opioid crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country's history.

During last year's ceremony, Trump noted how the birth of Jesus Christ "forever changed the course of human history", adding, "There is hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched: art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person everywhere in the world".

Over 72,000 American deaths were caused by opiate abuse in 2017.

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