Biden joins Jill and a masked bunny at the White House for his Easter message
President Joe Biden joined Jill Biden and the Easter Bunny at the White House on Monday to offer a message of hope and a promise that next year will be a better celebration of the holiday.
‘Easter’s a day enjoy when we celebrate resurrection,’ the president said from the South Portico balcony of the White House. ‘But this year, we know many are still going out the familiar comforts of the season.’
Below the first couple, the South Portico was decorated with large painted cutouts of rabbits and chicks – all painted wearing protective masks. The steps were covered in fake grass.
Before the Bidens came out, a breeze blew over a large brown rabbit and a gray rabbit but White House staff got them reset before the president’s speech begin.
Joe Biden and Jill Biden’s signatures were on a couple large egg shaped cut outs. Champ and Major’s paw prints are on two others.
President Joe Biden joined Jill Biden and the Easter Bunny at the White House
The South Portico was decorated with large painted cutouts of rabbits and chicks – all painted wearing protective masks
Jill Biden pulled a flower from those surround the balcony and gave it to the Easter Bunny
President Joe Biden said dawn is coming and that next year would be better
Joe and Jill Biden signed the eggs and some featured paw prints from the first couple’s dogs, Champ and Major
Biden started out his remarks on a humorous note. When he walked out onto the balcony, he said ‘Good to see you buddy,’ to the Easter Bunny, who was wearing a maroon-colored face mask that covered his nose and whiskers.
But he turned serious, acknowledging people had to celebrate the holiday apart this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 555,000 Americans.
‘The virus is not gone. And the second year in a row most will be apart from their families or friends,’ he said. ‘We know that the longed-for Dawn is almost here.’
He vowed next year will be different.
‘We look forward to next year when the White House will ring with joy the season once again,’ he said. ‘And they’ll be an Easter Egg Roll, God willing.’
He ended his remarks with: ‘Take care of Easter Bunny.’
And Jill Biden picked a flower from the balcony arrangement and handed it to the bunny, who was played Lt. Col. Brandon Westling, United States Air Force Military Aide to the president.
The Bidens canceled the traditional Easter Egg Roll that takes place on the South Lawn the Monday after the holiday.
The thousands of commemorative eggs typically given out to children have, instead, gone to vaccination sites and communities and health care centers all across America.
This year’s commemorative wooden White House Easter Egg features the first dogs, Champ and Major, along with the Easter Bunny wearing a face mask. The eggs are for sale through the White House Historical Association.
The Bidens spent the holiday weekend at Camp David with their family and returned to the White House on Monday morning.
Champ and Major, the Bidens’ dogs, were featured on this year’s commemorative Easter Eggs
First lady Jill Biden (left) and President Joe Biden (right) used their Easter message to push Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19
This year’s commemorative wooden White House Easter Egg features the first dogs, Champ and Major, along with the Easter Bunny wearing a face mask.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden returned to the White House after spending the Easter weekend at Camp David
The first couple used their Easter message on Sunday to encourage Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
‘We share the sentiments of Pope Francis, who has said that getting vaccinated is a moral obligation, one that can save your life and the lives of others,’ the president said in a video message posted to Twitter. ‘By getting vaccinated and encouraging your congregations and your communities to get vaccinated, we not only can beat this virus, we can also haste the day when we can celebrate the holidays together.’
In his message, Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, called Easter the ‘most holy day’ and quoted the Bible.
‘The virus is not gone and so many of us still feel the longing and the loneliness of distance,’ the president said. ‘For a second year, most will be apart from their families, their friends, full congregations that fill us with joy.’
‘And yet as the gospel of John reminds us, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it,’ the president continued.
The first lady reminded the American public that, ‘The traditions of holy week take us on a journey from sorrow to salvation.’
Like the Easter story, she suggested that things are looking up.
‘Today, as spring returns, we see hope all around us,’ Dr. Biden said.
‘Families are getting the financial help they need to take a breath once again,’ the first lady said. ‘More and more Americans are getting life-saving vaccines.’
The annual Easter Egg Roll, usually a joyous occasion where thousands of children flood the South Lawn of the White House to play games, including taking part in the famous egg roll race, last took place in person in 2019 when Donald and Melania Trump were in office.
Last year, Melania Trump read a story to children online after the event was canceled due to COVID. She said, at the time, the decision was ‘difficult.’
‘The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,’ she said last March. ‘I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short term to ensure a healthy country for the long term.’
The White House Easter Egg Roll dates back to 1878, when President Rutherford B. Hayes agreed to open the White House the Monday following Easter to all children who wanted to roll Easter eggs.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan hosted a hunt for wooden eggs that bore the signatures of famous people. Wooden eggs soon became the official White House Egg Roll keepsakes, according to the historical association.
The eggs are designed to reflect the special theme of each year’s event and are inscribed with the signatures of the President and First Lady.
This year’s features the Biden’s German shepherds: Champ and Major.