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Melania Trump cancels White House Easter Egg Roll due to coronavirus pandemic

White House Easter Egg Roll (White House/Released)
March 16, 2020

First lady Melania Trump regretfully announced Monday that the venerable White House Easter Egg Roll next month is canceled “out of an abundance of caution” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She cited the National Emergency Declaration made by President Donald Trump last week.

“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” the first lady said in a statement issued by the White House.

“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.

“During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”

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The annual Easter extravaganza, which has been held nearly every year since 1878, was to take place April 13 on the South Lawn.

The egg roll is one of the annual events at the White House the first lady’s office is responsible for organizing.

Typically the president and first lady host and hundreds of children and their families turn out for the event featuring games, entertainment, music and egg-rolling.

Trump tweeted twice in recent days about the coronavirus crisis, advising people to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to avoid infection.

“With our lives changed dramatically, especially in the last few days, I encourage everyone to follow CDC guidelines. Social distancing at this time is very important!” she wrote over a series of pictures.

She otherwise has said little about the coronavirus crisis in public, including at one of her most recent public appearances, at the National PTA Legislative Conference in Alexandria, Va., on March 10.

She addressed the parents and teachers about her “Be Best” campaign to reduce online cyber-bullying, but didn’t mention the coronavirus.

USA TODAY asked White House spokesman Stephanie Grisham last week about the status of the Easter Egg Hunt but received no reply.

According to White House historians, the egg roll is one of the oldest annual events at the people’s house, beginning in 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes decided to open the South Lawn to egg rollers. Previously, it had been reserved for the First Family’s private Easter activities.

As the tradition evolved, wooden eggs replaced real eggs, which were messy and smelly when smashed. These days, the wooden eggs, created and available exclusively through The White House Historical Association, are used and distributed as gifts to the children attending the event.

and in accordance with the National Emergency Declaration concerning the COVID-19, the Office of the First Lady is announcing that this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll has been canceled.

“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “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. During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”

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© 2020 USA Today