The Trump White House Even Managed to Screw Up the Annual Easter Party
After almost 100 days of scandals, leaks and chaos, the Trump administration has become notorious for its sui generis mix of arrogance, ineptitude and inexperience. These defining character traits are on display again in the runup to Easter Sunday.
The New York Times reports that for the first time in nearly 140 years, the White House Easter Egg Roll almost didn’t happen because the president’s team could barely get it together in time to pull it off. This year’s event will apparently take place on a far smaller scale than in the past, and that’s only because Trump staffers got some help with the basics.
According to the Times, the White House had to be reminded to order eggs, which are fairly crucial for an event with “Egg Roll” in the title. Wells Wood Turning, the Maine-based manufacturer of the commemorative eggs that decorate the White House lawn every year, noticed in February that the Trump team had failed to place the order. Fearing the deadline would pass, the company took to Twitter to blare a word of warning to Trump, his wife Melania, and first lady Ivanka.
@FLOTUS @realDonaldTrump @POTUS @MELANIATRUMP @IvankaTrump FYI manufacturing deadlines for the Easter eggs are near… https://t.co/cR1m44Zr5H— Wells Wood Turning (@Wells Wood Turning)1487595543.0
A rush order on the eggs was ultimately placed. But this year’s event will lack the star-power of past celebrations, which have drawn up to 35,000 attendees and featured performers including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Just as the Trump inauguration had a conspicuous lack of big names, the Times suggests A-Listers will be absent from next Monday’s party. The lack of preparedness also means fewer children, families and staff will be involved in what’s normally the White House’s biggest and most popular public affair.
“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,” Melinda Bates, former director of the White House Visitors Office under President Clinton, told the Times. “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.”
The lack of organization that hampered planning efforts also extends to invitations, the Times reports:
Washington-area public schools that normally receive blocks of tickets for as many as 4,000 children have yet to hear from the White House, according to representatives for school systems in the District of Columbia; Arlington, Va.; and Alexandria, Va. Several groups representing military families, who have accounted for as many as 3,000 guests in recent years, also said they had yet to be contacted.
Among those who haven’t received the tickets they normally expect each year is the American Military Partner Association, an advocacy organization for families of LGBT service members.
PBS Kids and the Children’s Television Workshop were asked, at the last minute, if they could send characters from beloved children’s shows such as Sesame Street. Normally, several muppets and actors from PBS shows are on hand, but this year, characters will be scarcer. That’s fitting since Trump has proposed scrapping the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and pretty much all public arts funding. That way, the U.S. can stop wasting money educating children and pour those funds into Trump’s already massive vacation kitty.
Members of Congress are normally provided tickets to the annual event to give to constituents, but the Times reports the Trump White House still hasn’t gotten around to that. An aide to a Republican legislator noted that Trump’s party planners “seem to be a bit behind schedule.”
One consistent attendee of the Easter Egg Roll who’s skipping the event this year is Natalie Rebetsky, a Maryland high school educator who’s become a staple at the annual party. The Washington Post reports Rebetsky has attended nearly two-dozen Egg Rolls, regardess of which party was in the White House.
“I didn’t care who was president when I went on the White House lawn. You just always knew the person in the White House is looking out for us and our children,” Rebetsky told the Post. “I just don’t feel that with this administration. Donald Trump has broken that trust with families and children.”
Instead, she bought 1,000 eggs from Wells Wood Turning (she got her order in before the White House) decorated with the message “Protect Our Children’s Future 2017,” meant to push back against Trump’s anti-family agenda. Rebetsky is selling the wooden “alt-eggs” for $15 via her GoFundMe page. One hundred percent of the profits will go to PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“It’s really hard for all of us to jump out of our armchairs and be activists,” Rebetsky told the Post. “I can’t stand to imagine a world where there is no federal support of the arts. It’s a first for me to put myself out on this issue.”