The National Christmas Tree toppled over near the White House on Tuesday, just two days before the National Tree Lighting ceremony.
A strong wind gust blew the tree over at around 1 p.m., the National Park Service said.
🚨#BREAKING: The White House National Christmas Tree Has Fallen
The National Christmas Tree, where President Joe Biden was scheduled to deliver the Christmas tree lighting, has been toppled over after a significant gust of wind occurred, according to the… pic.twitter.com/KOuD5b1nmc
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) November 28, 2023
The tree’s unfortunate collapse was seen by many on social media as a metaphor of the Biden White House.
National Christmas Tree has fallen at the Ellipse pic.twitter.com/o8ITKfTkDF
— Amy Kremer (@AmyKremer) November 28, 2023
The U.S. Parks Service initially said the tree may not be salvageable, but was optimistic that the “show must go on” for the tree lighting on Thursday.
NEW: National Christmas Tree near the White House knocked over by high winds pic.twitter.com/wtlRqgXTnc
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 28, 2023
At about 5 p.m., the tree was on its side with its lights still on and a crane was looming over it, the Washington Post reported. An hour later, the tree was back up.
“After assessing the tree’s condition and replacing a snapped cable, the tree is now upright as of 6 p.m.,” a National Park Service spokesman said in statement.
— Aimee Cho (@AimeeCho4) November 28, 2023
The 40-foot Norway spruce arrived in D.C from Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia earlier this month, and was placed in the park instead of being planted.
“At least since 1973, the National Christmas trees have been planted,” National Park Service Chelsea Sullivan told WTOP earlier. “However, prior to 1973, a cut tree was used.”
The park service decided to break tradition after last year’s tree, planted on Oct. 30, 2021, was removed on Nov. 11 after developing a fungal disease. The decision not to plant the tree was due to time constraints, Sullivan said.
The D.C. area saw chilly temperatures and wind gusts of between 30 to 40 mph, according to a 7News First Alert meteorologist.
At least three other National Christmas trees have fallen due to high winds, including an Obama era tree that blew over in 2011.