No Egg Roll Again, But the Easter Bunny Still Visits the White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — The coronavirus forced the White House to abandon its traditional Easter Egg Roll for a second straight year on Monday, but that didn’t stop President Joe Biden from giving a nod to the tradition during a an appearance with a special guest.

The President and First Lady Jill Biden appeared on the White House balcony with a masked Easter Bunny played by Air Force Lt. Col. Brandon Westling, a military aide to the President.

In brief remarks, Biden said the virus had forced many Americans to give up the “familiar comforts of the season,” but expressed hope that Americans — and the White House — could return to some of those traditions l ‘next year.

“We look forward to next year when the White House rings the bells for the season again and there will be an Easter egg roll, God willing,” Biden said.

The Easter Bunny, this time a costumed press secretary, then made an appearance at the daily White House press briefing to lay commemorative wooden eggs and chocolates for reporters.

The egg roll, usually held the day after Easter, typically brings some 30,000 children and parents to the White House grounds. This year, the Bidens instead sent thousands of memorial eggs to vaccination sites across the country and local hospitals.

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President Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition of the White House spring rolls in 1878. There were a few other times the event was either moved off the grounds of the White House or canceled.

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson suspended the egg roll and Franklin Roosevelt did the same during World War II. President Harry Truman scratched the egg roll from 1948 to 1952, due to food rationing and renovations at the White House.

Alicia R. Rucker