Despite soggy skies, President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, kicked off the first White House Easter Egg Roll since the coronavirus pandemic, welcoming some 30,000 kids and adults for the all-day event on Monday.
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Critics said the Easter event went poorly for a president desperate to regain some polling traction ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. And the Republican National Committee pounced, sharing a video of Jill telling the president to “just stay” when he seemed confused.
In the clip, Jill begins to clap and the president seems unsure of what to do. Sensing his panic, Jill tells him simply “just stay.” He heard “just sit,” he tells the audience and remains in his seat.
"Just stay" pic.twitter.com/sxo4gcTsXG
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 18, 2022
And in another strange moment, a costumed Easter Bunny interrupted the president and directed him to a different part of the event.
The Easter Bunny is in charge of Joe Biden
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 18, 2022
The theme for the day was “egg-ucation.” The first lady, a community college professor, turned the South Lawn into a school community with a variety of educational stations.
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Besides the egg roll and an egg hunt, the event included a schoolhouse activity area, a reading nook, a talent show, a place to teach about farming, a photo-taking station, a physical “egg-ucation” zone with an obstacle course, and a “cafetorium” where children learned to make treats.
The COVID-19 pandemic led the White House to cancel the Easter Egg Roll in 2020 and 2021. But the event is back this year, as the outbreak of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have eased.
“This year we’re finally getting together again, and it’s so special,” the president told the guests.
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, singer Ciara, and actor-singer Kristin Chenoweth were invited to add a dash of celebrity to the media event.
More than two dozen costumed characters were on hand, including Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, the Racing Presidents mascots for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball, Rosita and Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street” and Snoopy and Charlie Brown, among others.
The event kicked off at around 7 a.m., with the first of five waves of people, including kids wearing their Easter best, streaming through the White House gates.
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The White House Easter Egg Roll dates to 1878
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The Associated Press contributed to this article