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The Trumps host the White House's 141st Easter celebration

President Donald Trump signs a drawing during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., Monday April 22, 2019.

OLIVIER DOULIERY, ABACA PRESS/TNS

By MARISSA J. LANG | The Washington Post | Published: April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON —  President Donald Trump began the 141st Easter Egg Roll at the White House on Monday with the shrill blow of a whistle.

Children launched brightly colored hard-boiled eggs into the air with wooden spoons and scrambled after them as the president and first lady Melania Trump looked on.

After a couple rounds of egg-rolling, Trump lingered to greet the crowd, pose for photos and autograph memorabilia. The crowd was jubilant, cheering as he waved.

The event brought thousands of families from across the country to the South Lawn, where they mingled with the Easter Bunny and senior government officials, listened to military bands perform merry tunes and competed in "Be Best"-themed games.

Trump paused on his way to the event and addressed the news media, noting that he had spoken to the president of Sri Lanka after a series of church bombings on Easter Sunday left hundreds dead and wounded.

When asked whether he was "worried" about possible impeachment as a result of allegations made in the explosive Mueller report released last week, the president said, "not even a little bit."

Much like last year, no boldfaced names headlined the event - talk-show host Kelly Ripa and musical group Fifth Harmony warmed up the crowd in past years - though the first lady announced that she would introduce several new activities, including "Be Best hopscotch" and musical eggs.

The first lady's signature campaign to combat online bullying was to be featured more prominently at this year's event than it was during last year's festivities.

The Easter Egg Roll is one of the biggest annual events held at the White House. On Monday, about 30,000 guests - most of them children - began to descend on the grounds starting at 7:30 a.m.

American egg farmers were to provide a record-breaking 74,000 eggs to the White House for the egg roll, egg decorating stations and to be served on a stick as "EggPops," according to the American Egg Board.

Egg-rolling is a tradition that dates back centuries.

President Abraham Lincoln held informal egg-rolling parties at the White House while he was in office in the 1860s, and in the 1870s the Capitol hosted egg rolls to honor the Easter holiday. But the practice became so raucous and destructive to the grounds that President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law in 1876 banning the game on the Capitol grounds.

The custom was revived in 1878 when a "group of bold children" approached the White House gate seeking permission to play egg-rolling games during President Rutherford B. Hayes's tenure, according to the White House. The president agreed, and the tradition has endured ever since.

As is customary, the first lady was to receive a commemorative egg Monday to mark the occasion.

This year's egg design was inspired by the child of an egg farmer, according to Cecilia Glembocki, executive director of the Virginia Egg Council and a member of the American Egg Board.

On a light blue shell, the egg is decorated with small flowers, stars and a message: Be Best.

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