Trump’s Easter Egg Roll a Slapdash Job; LGBT Presence Unlikely

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll — an event that has served to enhance LGBT visibility — is haphazardly coming together under President Trump, according to media reports, and will likely not include an LGBT presence.

 Photo credit: National Park Foundation

Photo credit: National Park Foundation

Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the LGBT group American Military Partner Association, said her organisation has been invited to partake in the celebration since 2012, but has “had no communication with the Trump administration whatsoever about this year’s event.”

“As you can imagine we have many families that were hoping to attend this event, families from as far as North Carolina and New Jersey,” Broadway-Mack said. “As someone who attended the Easter Egg Roll with my own children, it’s extremely disappointing an invitation was not given to LGBT military families. This is such a wonderful experience for all children. I truly hope our families were not intentionally ignored. The Easter Egg Roll is about kids, not political agendas.”

According to a report in the New York Times, the event — hampered by an understaffed Office of the First Lady because Melania Trump continues to reside in New York City — has become a “quickly thrown-together affair” expected to draw 20,000 people, which is substantially less than the 37,000 attendees last year.

The lax approach to the event, set to take place Monday, is the result of a late start in planning that didn’t get underway until March. As a result, the Times expects “half as many guests, a fraction of the number of volunteers to manage the invasion of the South Lawn, and military bands in place of A-list entertainers like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel and Silentó who have performed for Egg Rolls past.”

According to the Times, the White House has ordered 40,000 of the commemorative eggs — about half of the roughly 85,000 ordered in 2016 — with 18,000 to be given away at the Easter Egg Roll and another 22,000 available for sale. The Times quoted Lara Kline, vice president for marketing and communications at the White House Historical Association, as saying the small number “is due to the limited manufacturing window for this year’s Easter Egg Roll.”

The Times reported members of Congress haven’t received information from the White House about whether they will obtain tickets to distribute to their constituents. One aide to a Republican lawmaker is quoted as saying White House officials “seem to be a bit behind schedule.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, in the same news conference where he triggered an outcry for suggesting Adolf Hitler didn’t use gas attacks to kill Jewish people in the Holocaust, defended plans for the event and joked it will be “an egg-cellent time.”

“We have worked really well,” Spicer said. “I think we’re going to have a very, very enjoyable day on Monday. Tickets have been sent out to all the schools in the area. There will be a large military contingent that will be participating, as well.”

Spicer said the egg roll will consist of five waves over the course two hour-long periods in which children and their families will be able to visit the White House, but didn’t immediately know the number of people who’d attend the event.

“We’ve done extensive community outreach to really bring a lot of the school children and from the area in, and it’s going to be a great day,” Spicer said.

One question about the event is whether Spicer, who took part in the event wearing a bunny suit during the George W. Bush administration as an aide to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, will do so again this year.

Because of the event’s emphasis on family, the Easter Egg Roll in years past has served as a vehicle to promote LGBT families and their children at times when relationship recognition was threatened by efforts to ban same-sex marriage or progressing as litigation seeking marriage equality proceeded through the courts.

 

Read the full Washington Blade article.

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