Trump Marks Kwanzaa as 'Celebration of African Heritage, Unity, and Culture'

President Trump answers questions from the media on Dec. 25, 2018, in the Oval Office of the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — President Trump issued a statement today sending “greetings to all those observing Kwanzaa,” a weeklong African cultural heritage festival that begins today.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by California State University, Long Beach, Africana Studies Department chairman and professor Maulana Karenga, in response to the 1965 Watts riots and drawing from traditional African harvest celebrations.

“Kwanzaa” derives from the Swahili phrase for “first fruits”: matunda ya kwanza.

Candles are lit each day of the week to signify seven core principles: umoja, or unity; kujichagulia, or self-determination; ujima, or collective work and responsibility; ujamaa, or cooperative economics; nia, or purpose; kuumba, or creativity; and imani, or faith.

“This annual celebration of African heritage, unity, and culture is a special opportunity for many to reflect on their shared ancestry and values,” Trump said. “At this time, our nation joins in honoring the important contributions of African Americans to the strength and success of the United States.”

“As families, friends, and communities gather this week to light the Kinara, we join in sending our best wishes for good health and happiness in the New Year,” he added.

Today is the fifth day of a partial government shutdown, which kept Trump at the White House over Christmas instead of at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“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. At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!” he tweeted on Christmas Eve.

“I hope everyone, even the Fake News Media, is having a great Christmas! Our Country is doing very well. We are securing our Borders, making great new Trade Deals, and bringing our Troops Back Home. We are finally putting America First. MERRY CHRISTMAS!” he tweeted on Christmas.