No more pie, but the Easter bunny still visits the White House


President Joe Biden appears with First Lady Jill Biden and the Easter Bunny on the balcony of the Blue Room at the White House on Monday, April 5, 2021, in Washington. The annual White House Easter Egg Roll has been canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

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

The President and First Lady Jill Biden appeared on the White House balcony with an Easter bunny wearing a mask 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 forgo “the familiar comforts of the season,” but expressed hope that Americans – and the White House – would be able to return to some of the these traditions next year.

“We look forward to next year, when the White House rings out the joy of 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 to local hospitals.

President Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition of White House egg rolls in 1878. There have been a few other times the event has been moved out of the White House or canceled.

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

Alicia R. Rucker