President Joe Biden joined Jill Biden and the Easter Bunny at the White House on Monday to offer a message of hope and a promise that next year will be a better celebration of the holiday.
'Easter's a day of joy when we celebrate resurrection,' the president said from the South Portico balcony of the White House. 'But this year, we know many are still going without the familiar comforts of the season.'
Below the first couple, the South Portico was decorated with large painted cutouts of rabbits and chicks - all painted wearing protective masks. The steps were covered in fake grass.
Before the Bidens came out, a breeze blew over a large brown rabbit and a gray rabbit but White House staff reset them before the president's speech.
Joe Biden and Jill Biden's signatures were on a couple large egg shaped cut outs. Champ and Major's paw prints were on two others.
Biden started out his remarks on a humorous note. When he walked out onto the balcony, he said 'Good to see you, buddy,' to the Easter Bunny, who was wearing a maroon-colored face mask that covered his nose and whiskers.
But he turned serious, acknowledging people had to celebrate the holiday apart this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 555,000 Americans.
'The virus is not gone. And the second year in a row most will be apart from their families or friends,' he said. 'We know that the longed-for Dawn is almost here.'
He vowed next year will be different.
'We look forward to next year when the White House will ring with joy the season once again,' he said. 'And they'll be an Easter Egg Roll, God willing.'
He ended his remarks with: 'Take care of the Easter Bunny.'
And Jill Biden picked a flower from the balcony arrangement and handed it to the bunny, who was played Lt. Col. Brandon Westling, United States Air Force Military Aide to the president.
The Bidens canceled the traditional Easter Egg Roll that takes place on the South Lawn the Monday after the holiday.
The thousands of commemorative eggs typically given out to children have, instead, gone to vaccination sites and communities and health care centers all across America.
This year's commemorative wooden White House Easter Egg features the first dogs, Champ and Major, along with the Easter Bunny wearing a face mask. The eggs are for sale through the White House Historical Association.
The Bidens spent the holiday weekend at Camp David with their family and returned to the White House on Monday morning.
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