The first call was plagued by poor reception. Caleb, aged 9, hailing from Washington, told Biden he wanted a horse, prompting first lady Jill Biden to remark, “How is Santa gonna get a horse in his sleigh?”
Father Jared called in next on behalf of his four children Griffin, Hunter, Piper and Penelope. Biden told Jared, “You know, Dad, we have a Hunter too. We have a son named Hunter and a grandson named Hunter.”
Son Griffin told Biden he wanted a piano for Christmas, while Hunter requested a Nintendo Switch and Piper wanted a Barbie. Penelope, age 2, was too young to make any requests. Closing the call, the father told the Bidens, “I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well, Merry Christmas and let’s go Brandon,” referencing a shorthand joke that has entered the slang lexicon as way of saying, “F*** Joe Biden.”
“Let’s go Brandon, I agree,” Biden replied, while the first lady remained silent.
By that time, the President said, Santa Claus had reached Iran, delivering 2,000,000,285 presents. The next caller, Dawson, requested a drum set — per Biden, one of his sons also requested a drum set one Christmas.
“Santa brought the drums, and we didn’t sleep,” he joked. “You may have a real musician on your hands — you may have the start of a great drummer!”
The President closed by paying tribute to military families, telling VanHerck, “Well, I’ll tell you what, what we’re thinking most about is military families that have an empty chair tomorrow at the table, where they have somebody deployed, I know you think about it all the time, general. And we want to thank military families. I really do mean this from the bottom of my heart.”
NORAD has made a tradition of using its radar system to track Santa on his trip around the globe every Christmas Eve.
The tradition, which began with a phone line mix-up in 1955, has seen presidents calling children to update them on Santa’s progress across the globe, even through government shutdowns. For 63 years, the organization otherwise tasked with detecting aerospace activity has turned its attention to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, tracking his sleigh and nine reindeer as they glide through the night to every child’s house — well, the ones he’s deemed nice for the year, anyway.