WASHINGTON (AP) — Not even the annual White House Easter Egg Roll is safe from presidential politics.
President Joe Biden, the host of Monday’s festivities on the South Lawn, said he plans to participate in “at least three or four more Easter egg rolls, maybe five.”
Biden was alluding to his expected reelection bid, but when pressed for news by Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” show, he gave no ground. The president repeated what he’s been saying for months.
“I’m planning on running, Al, but we’re not prepared to announce it yet,” Biden told Roker.
After making an early appearance on the lawn to speak with Roker after the gates opened at 7 a.m., Biden and first lady Jill Biden addressed the crowd from the White House balcony before joining the “egg-citement.” Some 30,000 people, mostly children, were expected, in nine waves of participants, ending at 7 p.m.
“Anything’s possible in America,” Biden said in brief remarks welcoming guests to the South Lawn, “if we remember who we are and we do it together.”
Biden and the first lady then went to the lawn, each one blowing a whistle to kick off egg-rolling competitions. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug, applauded as another group of children coaxed dyed, hard-boiled eggs to the finish line in a separate area.
Jill Biden later visited the “reading nook,” where she read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” to the parents and children gathered there, including Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The first lady’s grandson Beau Biden held the book while she turned the pages.
Her final stop was the talent stage and a performance by the cast of the Broadway musical, “The Lion King.” They performed “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
“The Lion King has amazed and enchanted kids and grown ups alike,” she said to introduce the cast. “And now they’re bringing their magic to the Easter Egg Roll.”
She watched the performance off stage and shook hands with cast members and posed for a photo as they exited.
The first lady’s theme is “EGGucation.” Jill Biden is a teacher and she has incorporated numerous learning opportunities into the event. “Learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom, there are so many fun opportunities to learn around us every day,” she said in her remarks on the balcony, explaining that’s why they turned the South Lawn into a “school community.”
The White House Easter Egg Roll dates to 1878, when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the White House lawn to children after they were kicked off the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.