The photo was taken by Kaitlan Collins, White House correspondent for the network and long-time sparring partner of the Trump team, who was on duty on Thanksgiving when Trump phoned the troops.
The president spoke from a small table pictured inside the Diplomatic Reception Room – a ground floor room that leads to the South Lawn.
It was the president’s first Thanksgiving at the White House: in 2017 and 2018 he was at Mar-a-Lago, and last year he made a trip to Afghanistan to celebrate with the troops.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN’s White House correspondent, was working on Thanksgiving
Collins’ photo was not the only one taken of the tiny desk, but hers had the most impact
The president’s table was set up for him to speak to troops around the world on Thanksgiving
Collins’ photo was not the only one taken of Trump at the table – a photographer from Getty was also capturing the moment, as was Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason, who posted images on Twitter.
But it was Collins’ picture which went viral, with 2,300 ‘likes’.
‘President Trump is holding a video teleconference with members of the military throughout the world. He’s calling in from the Diplomatic Reception Room,’ she captioned her photo.
Some noted that he was sitting next to an undecorated Christmas tree – mockingly suggesting that the First Lady had decided against decorating this year.
In July 2018, Melania was recorded in a phone conversation complaining about having to decorate the White House, saying: ‘Who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff?’
Others, however, were amused by the site of the president at what they termed ‘the kids’ table’.
The phrase ‘Diaper Don’ began trending on Twitter.
‘He’s at the kiddie table,’ said one.
‘Awww, he looks so cute at that little desk,’ laughed another.
Another commented: ‘When I first saw this I thought it was political cartoon of him being at a kids table, then I realized it was real.’
Memes of the president with crayons at the tiny table began circulating, and spoofed images of him playing on childrens’ toys.
‘Looks like he is using a 4th graders desk, and borrowed the Presidential seal from his Golf Cart!’ said one man.
Another added: ‘When I was leaving my job & training my replacement, I had to sit at at a folding table while my replacement got my office. LOL. My crappy folding table was twice this size.’
That the mockery stemmed from Collins’ tweet is likely to have angered the president even more.
Trump’s desk, placed between two bare Christmas trees, was the source of much mockery
Collins was sparring with the president again on Thursday, after the Thanksgiving call.
In his first time taking questions from journalists, Trump’s wild accusations of fraud were met with interruptions from Collins and other journalists – leading the president to yell at Reuters’ Jeff Mason that he lacked respect.
When Collins tried to ask a question, he shut her off.
‘Listen, excuse me. Excuse me,’ he said.
‘If I may,’ Collins replied.
‘When they don’t allow a poll watcher, which is a sacred person in our country. People don’t know what a poll watcher is,’ he continued.
‘A poll watcher is – it’s considered sacred in our country. When they throw them out of rooms -‘
Collins interrupted, saying: ‘But that’s not true. They didn’t do that.’
‘Sure, it is,’ Trump replied.
‘Your attorneys admitted they were in the room,’ Collins said.
Trump replied: ‘Excuse me. No, they didn’t. My attorneys did not admit anything. And it’s all different places.’
Collins captioned the picture: ‘The crew that got President Trump to answer his first questions in over three weeks. Proud to be part of it. Happy Thanksgiving!’
Collins later took a selfie with the rest of the White House reporting team, jubilant that he had finally been questioned about the election and his attempts to overturn the call for Biden.
The 28-year-old reporter from Alabama first started working in the White House in January 2017 – at the same time as Trump.
She was initially employed by The Daily Caller before switching to CNN, becoming one of their youngest-ever White House correspondents.
Collins has long antagonized the White House with her tough questioning.
In her first year she was temporarily banned from the Oval Office for asking questions of the president which his press team deemed to be rude.
Collins asked about Vladimir Putin and Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, and said she was told by senior White House officials that such questions were ‘inappropriate for that venue.’
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Collins ‘shouted questions and refused to leave’, while Kellyanne Conway said that Collins was banned because she was not ‘polite’.
The White House Correspondents’ Association objected to her barring, and she was reinstated.
Collins has worked inside the White House since 2017, first with the Daily Caller then CNN
Collins also clashed with the president this year about his refusal to order the wearing of face masks during the pandemic.
He spotted a clip of her momentarily removing her face mask, and tweeted it with the caption: ‘A CNN faker!’
She replied: ‘Nearly 90,000 Americans have been killed by coronavirus, and the president is tweeting about me pulling my mask down for six seconds on Friday.’
On November 20, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed Collins as ‘an activist’.
With Collins begging to answer a question, McEnany replied: ‘I don’t call on activists,’ then left the lectern.
‘I’m not an activist and you hadn’t taken questions since October 1 and you just took about five, Kayleigh,’ Collins responded, as McEnany walked out of the room.
‘That’s not doing your job, your taxpayer-funded job,’ she added.