The only thing more ridiculous than the White House Easter Egg Roll is the inability to plan a White House Easter Egg Roll. But as with health care, nobody in the Trump administration knew it could be so complicated to plan this festive spring event that has been going off relatively hitch-free since the Hayes administration. For someone who promised to never allow the blasphemous tidings “happy holidays” to emerge from our irreligious lips again, President Trump is remarkably lax about this Christian-lite rite.
First Lady Melania Trump has yet to fully staff the East Wing. She has no director for the Visitors’ Office, and trying to plan an Easter Egg Roll without one is like trying to pass sweeping bans on immigration without a director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — oh, wait, never mind.
As the New York Times reports, everything about this year’s gathering, scheduled for Monday, appears to be about half the size of President Obama’s 2016 event: The number of guests expected to attend (20,000, down from 37,000 in 2016); the number of volunteers staffing it (just 500); even the number of commemorative eggs (40,000, down from 2016’s 85,000).
Maybe there could have been more eggs if Trump hadn’t waited until the last minute to put in the order. The Trumps apparently ignored a tweet from the company Wells Wood Turning & Finishing, which supplies the commemorative wooden eggs used at our nation’s official Easter Egg Roll. “FYI manufacturing deadlines for the Easter egg roll are near. Please reach out!” The call went unanswered until early March, when the eggs had to be rush ordered.
From the Times:
“It’s the single most high-profile event that takes place at the White House each year, and the White House and the first lady are judged on how well they put it on,” said Melinda Bates, who organized eight years of Easter Egg Rolls as director of the White House Visitors Office under President Bill Clinton. “I’m really concerned for the Trump people, because they have failed to fill some really vital posts, and this thing is all hands on deck.”
In an echo of Trump’s inauguration, celebrities who have performed at this event in the past — Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel, and the like — are opting out; instead, musical entertainment will be provided by military bands. And many of the groups that typically get blocks of tickets, including military families and public schools in Washington and its sprawl, haven’t yet heard anything from the Trump administration.
Usually, PBS sends along a whole fleet from Sesame Street. This year, only one character will be there, and I’m sure it won’t be awkward at all, what with Trump recently proposing that funding for PBS be eliminated entirely from the federal budget.
Now seems like a good time to remind everyone that Sean Spicer — who just referred to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers” — donned the objectively terrifying Easter bunny suit ten years ago when George W. Bush was president. (Spicer was, at the time, an aide in the office of the United States Trade Representative.) No word on who the bunny will be this year. Maybe Jared Kushner could do it. It’s not like he’s busy with anything else.
— ᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ (@ingerhogstrom) April 13, 2017
The Times also notes that, while the Easter Egg Roll is “typically a heavily and enthusiastically promoted affair,” no one from the White House responded to “several weeks’ worth of inquiries,” nor did they deign to “provide basic information such as how many people are expected to attend.”