WASHINGTON – Former President Barack Obama delighted patients and staff after showing up at a Washington D.C. hospital wearing a Santa hat and carrying a bulging sack of gifts Wednesday.
"Who said the Grinch stole Christmas?" Children's National said in a Facebook post. "Our patients and their families received a huge holiday surprise when Barack Obama warmed our hallways with a huge bag of gifts for our patients! Thank you so much for visiting!"
Video showed the nation's 44th president visiting children in their rooms and receiving a loud ovation in a hospital hallway where a delighted throng of workers and patients took photos and sang, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas."
"I just want a chance to say 'thank you' to all of you guys," former President Obama told the crowd.
"I've had a chance to talk to some of the wonderful kids and their families, at a time that's obviously tough for folks. As the dad of two girls, I can only imagine in that situation, you know, to have nurses, staff and doctors and people who are caring for them, and looking after them, and listening to them and just there for them, and holding their hand, that's the most important thing there is,” the 57-year-old former president said. "What a great reminder of what the holiday spirit is supposed to be all about."
According to The Hill, Obama spent about an hour and a half visiting with the pediatric patients, giving them toy cars, puzzles and scented nail polish.
He later tweeted, "Thanks for humoring me as your stand-in Santa."
The visit comes a week after First Lady Melania Trump made the traditional visit to the hospital, during which she read a Christmas story, surprised patients and thanked the staff.