Less than a month after proposing to end federal funding for PBS, the Trump administration made a last-minute request to have characters from the classic kids’ show Sesame Street appear at the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll.
PBS confirmed that White House officials asked that either Big Bird or Elmo make an appearance. PBS spokesperson Jennifer Rankin Byrne said that only one character would make an appearance, which is in stark contrast to the multitudes of muppets that have shown up to the event in the past.
“PBS asked us to participate with them, and we agreed to provide a ‘Sesame Street’ character,” said Elizabeth Weinreb Fishman, the vice president for strategic communications for Sesame Workshop. It’s not yet known which character will attend.
According to reports, substandard planning for the event has left many wondering if it was going to happen at all.
“It’s the single most high-profile event that takes place at the White House each year, and the White House and the first lady are judged on how well they put it on,” former White House Visitors Office director Melinda Bates told the New York Times. “I’m really concerned for the Trump people, because they have failed to fill some really vital posts, and this thing is all hands on deck.”
The late start in planning by the Trump White House points to a smaller and less ambitious Egg Roll than in previous years. There may be half as many guests, a fraction of the number of volunteers to manage the invasion of the South Lawn, and military bands in place of A-list entertainers like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Idina Menzel and Silentó who have performed for Egg Rolls past.
President Trump’s proposed budget will cut into myriad domestic programs, including agencies that fund the arts, humanities and public media. According to NPR, funding for the Public Broadcasting Company would be cut to zero, along with funding for National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It’s the first time a president has put forth such drastic cuts.