By Rebecca Savransky - 12-25-16 12:29 PM EST
A Christmas statement released Sunday by the Republican National Committee (RNC) drew outrage among opponents on Twitter who objected to talk of a "new King."
"Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind," RNC chairman Reince Priebus and co-chair Sharon Day said in the statement.
"Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends."
Democrats, journalists and left-leaning Twitter users interpreted the phrasing about a "new King" as a comparison of President-elect Donald Trump to Jesus Christ. But others defended the RNC and said the line was clearly a reference to Jesus and nothing more.
- southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) December 25, 2016
- Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) December 25, 2016
They're really embracing the Cheeto Jesus thing. https://t.co/ckgyXdGsPf- Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 25, 2016
Guys, calm down. The RNC statement isn't about Donald Trump. It's about Vladimir Putin. https://t.co/ckgyXdGsPf- Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 25, 2016
- John Aravosis (@aravosis) December 25, 2016
This. Is. Utterly. Bonkers.- Mike Dudas (@mdudas) December 25, 2016
Getting hard to keep track of who's drinking whose Kool-Aid. https://t.co/xrepUWmYCj- Alex Parker (@AlexParkerDC) December 25, 2016
The distinction between a president and a king is not trivial https://t.co/8At2sHon1E- Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 25, 2016
- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 25, 2016
- Jim Gonyea (@JimGonyea) December 25, 2016
This references Jesus, you idiot. https://t.co/PYxN5E8ek3- Drew (@FigDrewton) December 25, 2016
Every year we welcome the arrival of our King, whose name is Jesus.- Justin Green (@JGreenDC) December 25, 2016
The shock and consternation over the GOP referencing that common knowledge in a Christmas statement is ...- Justin Green (@JGreenDC) December 25, 2016
RNC spokesman and incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer called it a non-story, telling CNN"Christ is the King in the Christian faith."
He added in a tweet responding to a journalist who wrote about the statement, "Christ is the King. He was born today so we could be saved. Its sad & disappointing you are politicizing such a holy day."
The RNC's statement also called on Americans to remember those who are less fortunate and to be mindful of the men and women in uniform unable to be with their loved ones for the holidays.
"Many are stationed around the world today protecting our freedoms, and cannot be with their own spouses, children, parents, and siblings," the statement said.
"We express the deepest gratitude for service that takes them away from celebrating with loved ones, and we ought to remember them in our thoughts and prayers not just on Christmas Day, but the whole year round."
- Updated at 2:10 p.m.