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American Egg Board forced to respond to Republican conspiracy theory about White House Easter event

Religious themes and imagery have been banned from the White House’s annual Easter celebration since 1978

Katie Hawkinson
Washington, DC
Sunday 31 March 2024 20:48 BST
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Related video: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden celebrate the 2023 White House Easter Egg Roll

On Monday, thousands of children and their families will gather on the White House South Lawn for the annual Egg Roll, an Easter tradition that dates back to the nineteenth century.

But this year’s celebrations have been marred as Republican politicians and commentators falsely accused President Joe Biden’s administration of banning religious themes and symbols from the celebration’s art contest — failing to note that the policy has been in place during every administration for almost 50 years.

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll, pictured above in 2023, has come under fire from GOP politicians this year (Getty Images)

Much of the backlash began after Fox News published an article with the headline, “Religious-themed designs banned from White House Easter egg art contest,” citing a poster about the event that said religious symbols and themes are banned from submissions. Mr Trump shared the article on his social media platform, Truth Social — however, he did not comment on the article in his post.

The rule, however, began in 1978 under former president Jimmy Carter — and has remained in place ever since, including during Donald Trump’s administration.

The Fox News article and subsequent reaction prompted Elizabeth Alexander, Communications Director for First Lady Jill Biden, to explain the rule had been in place for 45 years. Then, the American Egg Board — an organisation that helps facilitate the event — had to make their own statement clarifying the rule had been enforced by previous presidents.

“The American Egg Board has been a supporter of the White House Easter Egg Roll for over 45 years and the guideline language referenced in recent news reports has consistently applied to the board since its founding, across administrations,” the organisation said.

Despite this, Representative Elise Stefanik, Chair of the House Republican Conference and long-time ally to Mr Trump, shared a screenshot of the article on X.

“Disgraceful,” Ms Stefanik said. “Easter will forever be the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.”

Ms Stefanik and other members of the GOP also criticised the Biden administration’s declaration of 31 March as Transgender Visibility Day.

“On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation’s commitment to forming a more perfect Union — where all people are created equal and treated equally throughout their lives,” Mr Biden said in a statement this week.

The celebration day has fallen on 31 March since 2009, when Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall-Crocker created the International Transgender Day of Visibility — as such, Mr Biden did not choose the date. Meanwhile, Easter Sunday is determined annually according to lunar cycles — making it a coincidence that the two dates should overlap this year.

Regardless, the announcement still sparked anti-trans ire from the religious right.

Donald Trump Jr., son of the former president, said Democrats “must be stopped,” sharing an image of Mr Biden’s declaration.

Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, called for an apology while describing the president’s declaration as “appalling,” The Independent previously reported. Meanwhile, Republican Senator JD Vance made a similar demand, calling it “disgraceful” to Christians.

As Transgender Visibility Day celebrations take place across the US this weekend, anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ+ policies are on the rise throughout the country.

More than 479 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures during the ongoing 2024 legislative session, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Meanwhile, last year the ACLU tracked 510 anti-LGBTQ+ bills during the 2023 legislative session.

While some of the bills won’t pass, it is still evident that anti-LGBTQ+ policies and attitudes are proving deadly. Just last month, transgender teen Nex Benedict died in Oklahoma, a state which has already seen 35 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed by lawmakers this legislative year.

Benedict’s death, which was ruled a suicide, has already become a rallying cry for LGBTQ rights as trans and queer youth continue to face attacks, The Independent previously reported.

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