As juicy details from West Wing tell-alls go, it wasn’t exactly a headline grabber: The first lady of the United States had snapped at staffers over an Easter bunny costume.
Or so wrote former communications staffer Cliff Sims in his bridge-burning memoir Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House. According to Sims, Melania Trump abruptly nixed the blue vest typically worn by Easter Bunny during the 2017 annual Easter Egg Roll, her first in the White House. At her command, staffers rushed to disrobe the rabbit a few minutes before it, Trump, and her son Barron were set to walk into the balcony to greet children and guests.
The excerpt reads, in part:
On the day of the event, everything was in place—the staging, the decorations, the eighteen thousand colored Easter eggs, the band. Stephanie Grisham, her Communications Director, had mapped out all of the camera angles and movements. Mrs. Trump was wearing an elegant light pink silk dress. She looked at ease, as if the whole thing had come together without much effort. She and Barron were preparing to accompany the President out onto the balcony with a junior staffer dressed in an Easter Bunny costume when Melania froze. Her lips formed into a judgmental frown.
“That needs to be taken off,” she said.
She wasn’t talking to Barron or her husband, but the Easter Bunny. He was wearing a light blue vest, and for whatever reason the color or the fabric intruded on the First Lady’s milieu. With seconds to go, staffers jumped into action, scrambling to undress the white bunny in full view of a slightly perplexed President.
“That’s much better,” she said.
While Washingtonian is unable to independently verify the claims, the photos do not lie: the giant rabbit was, indeed, bare chested during 2017’s festivities—no waistcoat, and no replacement garment, either. (Update: As an eagle-eyed tweeter points out, there are other photos showing what appears to be at least two bunnies wearing vests at some point during the event. What does it all mean? That remains a mystery.)
But official confusion about how to dress a rabbit appears to predate the Trump Administration. Among the Egg Roll pictures preserved by Getty Images, there are bunnies in a wide variety of getups. During the Obama years, one egg roll featured a rabbit who not only lacked a vest, but wasn’t even wearing glasses as he walked, nakedly and with reckless abandon, next to Mr. and Mrs. Obama.
In fact, the most recent photo of a bespoke suited Bunny came from way back in 2009. At those festivities, the animal was wearing a paisley printed burgundy number. Quite stylish.
The shifty, vest-less timeline begs the question: what will this years’ rabbit iteration don?
The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment. For now, the Easter Bunny’s outfit will remain a state secret—at least until Sunday.