Easter weekend is fast-approaching, which means the annual White House Easter Egg Roll is just around the corner. Or at least some semblance of the popular, kid-friendly affair will occur, as the Palm Beach Daily News reports that Donald Trump will instead spend the upcoming holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. To make matters worse for the current administration, a New York Times article reveals just how poorly planned Trump’s first official Easter Egg Roll of his presidency is compared to previous incarnations overseen by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
According to the NYT, Wells Wood Turning — the Maine company responsible for supplying the 138-year-old celebration with its commemorative wooden eggs — tweeted a dire warning to the president, First Lady Melania Trump, and daughter Ivanka Trump back in February. “FYI manufacturing deadlines for the Easter eggs are near,” the message read. “Please reach out!”
After some additional digging, NYT reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis discovered the rather chaotic reality of the upcoming White House Easter Egg Roll, which is amazingly still going to happen — albeit on a much smaller, last-minute scale than previous occurrences. What’s more, it seems the president himself — let alone the first lady, whose office typically plays a major role in planning the event — won’t even be around to participate in the reduced festivities.
Then again, neither will many of the A-list celebrities who’ve frequented previous White House Easter Egg Rolls. For just like his inauguration, Trump’s first Easter as President of the United States has only been able to muster the support of “military bands” whose attendance, as ordered by the White House, isn’t optional:
There may be half as many guests, a fraction of the number of volunteers to manage the invasion of the South Lawn, and military bands in place of A-list entertainers like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel and Silentó who have performed for Egg Rolls past.
Despite this and ample amounts of information about the sorry-sounding event, much of which came from anonymous sources tied to its planning, Trump’s communications team is denying everything after refusing to “respond to several weeks’ worth of inquiries.” When they did respond, however, the NYT was quick to note the White House’s insistence on crowd size:
“Plans for the Easter Egg Roll are well underway, and the White House looks forward to hosting it,” said Stephanie Grisham, Mrs. Trump’s communications director, installed only a few weeks ago. She said it was “just not accurate” to suggest that the event had been scaled back from past years, but would not provide figures for the size of the event or information about the program.
Grisham’s insistence on the supposedly well-planned Easter Egg Roll notwithstanding, the NYT also learned many of the groups who typically receive blocks of tickets to the annual occurrence — including local area schools and organizations supporting military families, have received nothing. “Unfortunately, the Trump administration has not reached out about it,” said American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack. (Interestingly, this particular organization “represents the families of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members.”)
Though perhaps the most unintentionally ironic thing the NYT learned about the White House’s Trump-less Easter weekend was who those planning the last-minute event did reach out to. Namely, PBS — one of several organizations the administration’s proposed budget would cut off from all federal funding. It seems not wanting to help support the teams behind shows like Sesame Street doesn’t disqualify the White House from asking for their help:
“PBS asked us to participate with them, and we agreed to provide a Sesame Street character,” said Elizabeth Weinreb Fishman, the vice president for strategic communications for Sesame Workshop. She declined to say which character would attend, referring questions to the White House.
When in doubt, Press Secretary Sean Spicer can always reprise his role as the Bush-era Easter Bunny.
(Via New York Times)