WASHINGTON - With overcast skies and temperatures in the 40s, President Donald Trump declared it was "perfect weather" on Monday for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Nearly 30,000 parents and children were expected to participate in the all-day event.
Morning rain dampened the festivities, but the skies had largely cleared though it remained chilly by the time Trump and his wife, Melania, walked down the stairs from the Blue Room balcony to join guests on the South Lawn.
"You know, it was supposed to be pouring, the weather. It was supposed to be very rainy and nasty and cold and windy," said Trump, who appeared in an overcoat on the balcony with his wife and the Easter Bunny. "And look what we have: perfect weather. Perfect weather. Beautiful weather."
Mrs. Trump, who wore boots and a knee-length coat after going sleeveless last year, said it was a "beautiful day" but "a little bit cold."
During brief remarks from the balcony, Trump thanked her for doing an "incredible job" on the event. He also said good words about the economy and praised a recent $700 billion increase in funding for the military.
"This is a special year. Our country is doing great," Trump said. "Nothing is ever easy, but we have never had an economy like we have right now. And we're going to make it bigger and better and stronger."
He helped kick off a few egg-rolling games with a "ready," "set" and the blow of a whistle.
"You ready, kids?" the president said as he and the first lady blew whistles that set a group of children scampering and using wooden spoons to guide dyed, hard-boiled eggs across a portion of the sloping South Lawn. They blew the whistles several times before moving to a card-making station for U.S. troops.
The egg roll was also a Trump family affair, with most of the president's five children and nine grandchildren in attendance, including Donald Trump Jr., his wife, Vanessa, and their five kids; son Eric, his wife, Lara, and their baby; daughter Tiffany and son Barron.
In all, the White House said it expected nearly 30,000 adults and children to stream through the gates. Thousands of volunteers worked during the weekend to help set things up and on Monday to help keep the lines moving.
The first lady put her stamp on the event by adding lawn bowling to the list of activities.
The White House Easter Egg Roll dates to 1878.