Despite cancellation rumors that started making their way around the internet in February, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll happened after all. According to eye witnesses, however, it may have been the saddest Easter egg roll in White House history. There was no throng of people clamoring to get in, and attendance seemed to be at least 16,000 people shy of the turnout at the last Obama-sponsored Easter Egg Roll. Musical presentations were nowhere near as thrilling as last year’s performance, only one costumed Sesame Street character showed up, and it rained.
Less than festive festivities
If Donald tweets something to the effect that Monday’s event boasted the biggest turnout in White House egg roll history, don’t believe it. Because the White House took so long to plan the 2017 egg roll, most of the Sesame Street characters who participated in recent rolls were unable to attend. A lone Elmo character wandered about with several other costumed adults in search of a kid to take a picture with. Was Monday’s eggy event the saddest Easter egg roll in White House history? A lot of people seem to think so.
On April 11, Jennifer Byrne, senior director of media relations for PBS, told the New York Times that the White House did not get in touch with PBS about hiring Sesame Street characters until the end of March. That few Sesame Street characters showed up may or may not be blamed on The Donald’s proposed plan to eliminate funding for the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio.
Not exactly rockin’ at the Roll
On Monday, Esquire writer Sarah Rense described a “very sad White House Easter Egg Roll” while reminding readers that last year’s event featured musical entertainment by Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Entertainment at the 2017 White House Egg Roll was provided by a military marching band, The Martin Family Circus, and a New Jersey-based auto-tuned boy band called Bro4. In case you are among the 325,963,300 Americans who did not see the Martin Family Circus headline the Trump’s Easter party, here’s a stunning sample of what you missed.
No yoga at the saddest White House Easter Egg Roll, and Trump threw away a kid’s hat
During the Obama years at the White House, free kids yoga classes were included with admission to the annual egg roll. For eight years in a row, Michelle Obama graciously invited Baptiste Yoga master Leah Cullis to participate in the event. This year, Cullis received no invitation.
At one point during the meet-and-greet portion of the day, a child handed a red hat to the president. Trump signed the hat, then tossed it over the child’s head into the crowd. Nice going, Donald.
Donald did not do the math before addressing the Egg Roll audience
Had Forty-Five spent four or five minutes at the White House website, he may not have misstated the number of consecutive egg rolls that have occurred at the White House. Today’s egg roll was not the 139th. Although the traditional Monday-after-Easter-Sunday White House egg roll indeed began in 1878, the event was cancelled many times for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps the saddest Easter egg rolls were the ones that never happened
In 1917, the roll took place at the Washington Monument in lieu of the White House lawn. In 1918, District of Columbia food administrator Charles Wilson announced the cancellation of the event on the grounds that it wasted food during a time of war. On March 28, 1921, the traditional Egg Roll returned to the White House lawn during the Harding administration. Some 60,000 participated in the merry event that featured costumed actors from the then-popular play Alice and the White Rabbit. In 1942, the Roll took place on the West Lawn of the Capitol building.
From 1943 to 1945, there was no White House Egg Roll whatsoever. In 1946, President Truman almost brought the egg roll back to the White House, but national food conservation efforts caused him to cancel the event for two more years. Finally, in 1953, the Eisenhower administration brought back the happy tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll. Wooden eggs replaced hard-boiled hen’s eggs in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was president.
The Trump egg roll that almost wasn’t
As a rule, the First Lady appoints a Visitors Office social secretary who manages things like ordering wooden Easter eggs quite some time in advance. Not this year. In fact, the Wells Wood Turning company was so concerned that the White House had not yet placed its traditional timely order for lathed eggs, they contacted the Trumps via Twitter on February 20.
“Please reach out!” they said.
In past years, White House eggs have featured bright or pastel colors and kid-friendly stamped images. Not this year. The 2017 White House eggs are gold-colored and stamped with a formal presidential seal and facsimile autographs of the Trumps.
Bro4 knew the gig could tank their reputation
It may be worth noting that members of the obscure boy band that played at the saddest Easter Egg Roll were not entirely enthusiastic about appearing.
“We got word that, you know, they were looking for a show at the White House and we just decided, yo, there’s gonna be 25,000 kids there The impact that we can make talking to these children about bullying and domestic violence and abuse and all of that — anything in the world would have pushed us to do it more. It’s something that we really care about, so it’s something that we had to do.”
Bro4 understood that they might walk away from the White House Easter Egg Roll with a thoroughly trashed reputation. Despite the risk, bandmates decided that if their feel-good-don’t-bully message saved even one egg roller, the damage to their reputation would be worth it.
[Feature image by StGrafix / Thinkstock]