In very different Christmas messages, Biden discusses Covid and Trump barely makes reference

Adam Edelman
Combination picture of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden and U.S. President Donald Trump speaking about the early results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, U.S. November 4, 2020.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump delivered starkly different Christmas messages Friday, with the president-elect emphasizing in a video the pain that the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought and reminding Americans of "our common humanity," while Trump made only the faintest reference to the coronavirus.

"Jill and I wish you and your family peace, joy, health and happiness this season. But we know for so many of you in our nation this has been a very difficult year," Biden said in a video message with his wife.

"And we're reminded in this season of hope, our common humanity, and what we're called to do for one another."

"Many of our fellow Americans are struggling to find work, literally put food on the table, pay their rent or their mortgage, reminded we're on this earth to care for one another, to give what we can and to be a source of help and hope to friends and strangers alike," Biden added.

He also emphasized that he and Jill Biden wouldn't be seeing extended family this year, to honor the public health guidelines made necessary by the pandemic.

"For the Bidens, we usually have 20 to 25 people over Christmas Eve for dinner, but not this year," the president-elect said.

"We're going to miss our family, but it's what we need to do to keep our families safe. We hope you'll consider limiting travel in the size of family gatherings as well this year."

Read more: 'A holiday season like no other': Many cope with loss and grief during the pandemic

Nearly 330,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, and there are more than 18.7 million confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S.

Trump, meanwhile, issued a formal White House statement that didn't specifically mention the pandemic.

His only acknowledgment was that "our gatherings might look different than in past years."

Instead, he sent "warmest wishes" from himself and first lady Melania Trump "to all Americans as we celebrate Christmas."

Read more: Pope warns against vaccine nationalism as Christians celebrate subdued Christmas

"While our gatherings might look different than in years past, this Christmas, like every Christmas, is an opportunity for us to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and show our heartfelt gratitude for the abundant blessings God has bestowed upon our lives and country," the Trumps' message said.

"In this season of peace, we cherish the warmth, generosity, and faith that breathe life into our holiday gatherings. The love we share with our family and friends fills our hearts with joy, just as the story of Christ's birth inspires people all over the world."

Trump also offered his thanks to military families, first responders, law enforcement officers, and frontline medical professionals who "work tirelessly to serve and protect our communities."

In a video posted to Twitter on the day before Christmas, Trump and Melania Trump, however, addressed the pandemic at length.

"We are battling a global pandemic that has affected all of us," Melania Trump said in that video, offering her thanks to first responders, medical workers, military members, teachers and many others.

Trump added that, "We are delivering millions of doses of a safe and effective vaccine that will soon end this terrible pandemic."

Read more: U.S. air travel reached post-March peak on day before Christmas Eve, TSA data shows

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Adam Edelman is a political reporter for NBC News.