"Here’s a young guy who said, ‘Keep building that wall.' Can you believe that? He’s going to be a conservative some day!"

By Adam Carlson
April 22, 2019 03:55 PM
From left: First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll
KEVIN DIETSCH/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Buffeted by bad press, saddled with sagging approval numbers and tethered, as ever, to Twitter — but for one morning, at least, President Donald Trump spoke only of Easter eggs and happy children.

Well … mostly.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump welcomed some 30,000 people to the White House’s South Lawn on Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll, a carnivalesque tradition dating back more than a century.

In addition to the titular egg racing, this year’s event included a “Cards for Troops” station, a “Be Best” hopscotch (in reference to Mrs. Trump’s campaign focused on child welfare), various egg hunts, costumed characters, an illustrator and other activities.

It was the third annual Trump Easter Egg Roll; and though the administration’s initial event, in 2017, reportedly had to overcome some planning challenges, subsequent festivities have been smoother.

“This is 141 years that we’ve been doing this. I don’t remember the first one, but the last three years we’ve had an awfully good time,” President Trump told the attendees in his opening remarks, where he was joined at the White House by his wife and (who else?) the customary Easter Bunny.

The president thanked Mrs. Trump for her work overseeing the event, which is the White House’s largest social undertaking each year: “She worked so hard on this event and without her it would not be like it is. It’s as beautiful as I’ve ever seen it. … Melania, thank you very much.”

While wishing the crowd a happy Easter, the president echoed his familiar argument for himself, boasting hyperbolically: “Our country is doing fanatically well, probably the best it’s ever done economically.”

It wasn’t the only time politics intruded on the day: Later, while speaking with a child at the “Cards for Troops” station, the president said one of the boys asked him about his controversial plans to build a southern border wall with Mexico.

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The 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll
First Lady Melania Trump at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll
First Lady Melania Trump at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll
From left: First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll

“I will. Oh It’s happening. It’s being built now,” Trump said. “Here’s a young guy who said, ‘Keep building that wall.’ Can you believe that? He’s going to be a conservative some day!”

The Easter Egg Roll provided a rare apolitical moment amid ongoing coverage from the fallout of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump administration and Russia.

According to the public version of Mueller’s report, released last week, neither Trump nor any of his associates conspired with Russia in its efforts to help elect him in 2016.

RELATED: What the Mueller Report Really Says About Donald Trump and Russia

However, Mueller damningly documented an effort by the president to derail the special counsel’s investigation once he became a target. Mueller declined to determine if this behavior was illegal obstruction of justice, given unresolved legal issues.

Instead Mueller implied the matter should be left to Congress. The next day, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic candidate for president, called for Trump to be impeached.

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“To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways,” Warren tweeted on Friday.

She added, “The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been more cautious.

Returning to Twitter after the Easter Egg Roll, the president continued to blast Mueller’s investigation and retweet supportive coverage from cable TV.

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