Every year a massive Christmas tree is erected outside the White House, and people come from all over the world to look upon its incredible glory and celebrate the holiday season.
But the celebrations around the famous White House Christmas tree had to be cut short and the area evacuated by U.S. Park Police on Friday night after a man climbed partway up the tree. The man had to be coaxed down by negotiators prior to being transported to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Climbing the tree
The unidentified man somehow entered the interior of the then-lit tree in the early evening on Friday.
He climbed up as high as 20 feet before police responded.
The man refused to budge from his perch within the tree until after a police negotiator spoke with him.
He eventually descended from the tree on his own and was transported to a hospital for an evaluation.
A family at the scene who witnessed the incident told reporters that the man had been loudly singing “God Bless America” while he was inside the tree.
A premature end
The man’s stunt forced police to evacuate the area and close down the Christmas tree area for the night, leaving tourists frustrated that they couldn’t get a closer look at the iconic decoration.
Their frustrations were magnified over the weekend when the lights never came back on the tree because of the partial government shutdown.
The national Christmas tree remained unlit until the evening of Christmas Eve.
Questions left unanswered
Despite numerous witnesses being on scene, it is unclear how the man was able to enter and climb the interior of the Christmas tree — or why he chose to do so.
It also remains unclear if the man will be charged with any sort of crime for his disruptive actions.