- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2017

A round of applause, please, for President Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who greeted some 21,000 guests on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. sharp. The pair are honoring tradition as hosts of the 139th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, which features 18,000 Easter eggs and three separate waves of young guests who will be arriving well into the afternoon.

Things are snippy in the mainstream press, meanwhile. Apparently overwhelmed by nostalgia for the previous administration, much of the news media is producing less-than-friendly coverage for Monday’s festivities, implying that this year’s celebration has been ill-planned and is less elaborate than in years past. Indeed, big-name celebrities are not being touted — perhaps a refreshing Trump touch in the eyes of many Americans. But this has happened before. The coverage of the egg roll is similar to what the president received during his inauguration, which focused on patriotism and local talent rather than spectacle. That was not enough for some journalists.

Meanwhile, social media is percolating with politicized comments about the event; such Twitter hashtags as #EasterEggRoll and #WhiteHouseEasterEggRoll have already been utilized as a springboard by critics.

Yes, the customary commemorative wooden White House Easter eggs have been produced for the occasion in hues of gold, robin’s egg blue, pink, pale yellow and sky blue. They are simple but handsome, produced by Wells Wood Turning & Finishing, the same Maine company that previously supplied the keepsakes. The White House Historical Association now reports that the souvenir egg supply, for the moment, is sold out. Which tells you something.

Still, Katie Couric could not resist asking Wells Wood President Chris Chandler about the phenomenon of the gilded eggs. “Of course a gold egg seems very Donald Trump. Do you know if this was his personal request?” inquired Ms. Couric.

An affable Mr. Chandler had no idea and said so, while also informing the independent broadcaster that there had been other golden eggs made for other White House administrations in the past.

So no potential scandal there.

Despite such hubbub, the egg roll is on a roll, and went forward bright and early Monday with style, good cheer and the help of 500 devoted volunteers, hand-packed goody bags, staffers, U.S. military bands, a family band from Tennessee and another from New Jersey. See the friendly doings streamed livestreamed here.


“The New Birtherism”

This progressive obsession with President Trump’s tax returns is the new trend identified by Breitbart.com Senior Editor Joel B. Pollak, this following a weekend of well-organized protests in multiple cities demanding that Mr. Trump share his tax records.

“The protesters seem undeterred by the embarrassing failure of a recent ‘scoop’ by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, who claimed to have found Trump’s tax returns — only to reveal a 2005 return that showed Trump paying $38 million in federal taxes on $150 million of income,” writes Mr. Pollak, who also notes that Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, used the tax return rally in the nation’s capital Saturday “as an opportunity to renew her calls for Trump’s impeachment.”


Vice President Mike Pence remains on an ambitious four-nation overseas tour in the Asia-Pacific region at the moment, accompanied by his wife Karen and their two daughters, Audrey and Charlotte.

On Monday Mr. Pence winds down his visit to Korea and prepares to depart for Tokyo, where the ever-gracious but Indiana-tough Mr. Pence will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and later conduct the first-ever U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso. That sounds promising; there is also a “listening session” on the agenda.

Mr. Pence also will bolster confidence that the U.S. remains a strong ally to the region, and that the American military is on the comeback trail. To that end, Mr. Pence will have a grand tour of the USS Ronald Reagan, a 1,092-foot aircraft carrier that can carry 90 aircraft. The motto here is “Peace through strength,” a favorite of the 40th president himself.

“USS Ronald Reagan is America’s flagship: a visible symbol of America’s commitment to our allies and of our nation’s resolve to maintain international security and stability. We will be ready when needed, where needed to fight and win!” commanding officer Capt. Buzz Donnelly advises crew members in the vessel’s guiding principles.

Mr. Pence will address that crew as well as Japanese service members, and then it’s off to Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday.


Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez launches the weeklong “Come Together and Fight Back Tour” on Monday in Portland, Maine. Accompanied by Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, Mr. Perez intends to rally his fellow progressives with grass-roots zeal in pivotal states.

“Bernie and I will be talking directly to voters about how the Democratic Party is fighting for you,” he advised potential rallygoers in the weekly Democratic address released Saturday. “We’re hitting seven states in six days, and we’d love to see you.”

Mr. Sanders is along for the entire tour. On the itinerary: the aforementioned Maine stop, followed by rallies in Louisville, Kentucky; Miami; Grand Prairie, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Salt Lake City.


“Taxes in Nordic countries are so simple, people do them by text message.”

— from Chris Weller, a Business Insider analyst, on Sunday.


• 62 percent of Americans say it bothers them “a lot” when some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes; 44 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats agree.

• 60 percent overall say it bothers them when some wealthy people don’t pay their share; 40 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats agree.

• 43 percent overall say the complexity of the tax system bothers them a lot; 39 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

• 27 percent overall say the amount people pay in taxes bothers them a lot; 21 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

• 20 percent overall say they are bothered if some poor people don’t pay their share; 26 percent of Republicans and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,501 U.S. adults conducted April 5-9.

• Outside chances, insider remarks to [email protected]  Follow her on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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