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Trumps welcome 21,000 to their first Easter egg roll at White House

President Donald Trump, joined by the Easter Bunny, speaks from the Truman Balcony during the annual White House Easter egg roll in Washington. Picture by Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press
Darlene Superville, Associated Press

US President Donald Trump welcomed thousands of people to the annual Easter egg roll at the White House yesterday - his first as president.

Greeting families at the event, which was hit by intermittent rain, Mr Trump said: "This is the 139th Easter egg roll. Think of it, 139.

"And we will be stronger and bigger and better as a nation than ever before. We're right on track."

His wife Melania, their son Barron (11) and the Easter Bunny joined him on a balcony overlooking the White House lawn before they joined some of the 21,000 people at the event.

Thousands of children took part in the tradition of rolling hard-boiled eggs across the manicured lawn.

Before joining the festivities with his family, Mr Trump also thanked his wife for "working on this for a long time to make it perfect".

There had been some speculation about whether the Trumps would be able to successfully host the event. Planning seemed to get off to a late start, with the Trumps taking longer than in previous years to announce yesterday's date.

The egg rolling event, which dates back to 1878, was smaller than previous years - down from the 35,000 people who got tickets last year - but retained such activities as a reading nook where messages can be sent to US troops.

"As we renew this tradition, thank-you for joining us," the First Lady said.

Moments later, Mr Trump blew a whistle three times, each time sending groups of youngsters scurrying to use a wooden spoon to manoeuvre their dyed eggs several yards across the finish line.

The Trumps and their son Barron also joined children at a table to make cards to send to US service members.

Mr Trump's older sons Donald Jr and Eric, their wives Vanessa and Lara, and his daughter Tiffany also attended.

In the reading area, Mrs Trump read Party Animals, a story about celebrating differences written by television personality Kathie Lee Gifford.

Costumed characters roaming the grounds included Elmo from Sesame Street, Dr Seuss's Cat in the Hat and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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