Trump greeted the crowd with a "Merry Christmas" and encouraged the crowd to count backward from 10 as the first lady turned on the lights of the tree on the Ellipse outside the White House.
"Melania and I are thrilled to be here today as we celebrate one of the nation's most cherished traditions, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree," Trump said.
Trump went on to thank the staff who helped set up the tree and the performers at the ceremony, including the Dominican Sisters of Mary.
He also delivered remarks about the birth of Jesus Christ and reading a passage from the Bible.
"No matter one's faith or belief the Christmas season reflects all that is best in the American spirit," Trump said. "This is a time of the year for rejoicing with our family and friends, for spreading charity and good will in our commitment, all over this country in all of our communities and for giving thanks for all of the blessings in our live."
Trump acknowledged a group of foster parents and the children they had taken in that were present in the audience as well as the victims and first responders from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters throughout the year.
"This is the United States of America, we are the best in the world and there's nobody close," Trump said.
He went on to offer thanks for the U.S. military, which he said was "stronger than ever before."
"Their families are all our families and we thank them so much for their greatness and for the incredible job they do," Trump said.
Trump closed the ceremony with a prayer for God to watch over the nation before wishing the crowd a "very Merry Christmas."