I’ve been the White House Easter bunny rabbit for twenty-nine years—Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama. Now Trump. Supplemental weight has modified a few stitches and better designers have changed a few heads. I got the job on Christmas Eve 1988, dancing in a Christmas Tree costume for a holiday event at The Fairfax at Embassy Row hotel in Washington D.C. for President Reagan and his cabinet. Afterward, the Vice President’s wife, Barbara Bush, hugging me as if we were friends, said to me in front of George Bush Sr., “He’s the perfect size to be the bunny for the Easter egg hunt next spring. I want him involved. I want him hired.”
One White House background check and a signature of confidentiality was all it took to get a security clearance (and pass) for one day each year. A paid gig. Plus lunch on the White House lawn and a picture with the President of the United States of America. Bush Sr. patted my back and Barbara kissed my cheeks, handing me a two thousand dollar check. Bill Clinton said well done and Hillary ignored me altogether, sending some lawyer to the entrance gate to hand me a check for three thousand dollars. Bush Jr. commented about my energy and Laura asked if the suit was hot, stuffing a check for four thousand dollars in the Easter basket. Barack Obama, who had an aide give me a six thousand dollar check before I suited up, said hola, como esta and then asked for my name during the event, while Michelle introduced me to the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia, who stood on either side holding my hands.
And then Trump was elected.
“You’re not some illegal, are you?” Trump asked, as I stood in the furry suit, holding a head in my hands, on the second floor of the White House in a room with an outdoor balcony. “And aren’t you a little old to be doing this.” He paused, scanning me as if I were an Easter Bunny turd. “Time for some new blood, I think. Comprende?”
I nodded. “Whatever you say.”
A member of the Secret Service patted me down and looked into the hollowness of the head. “Stay out of view of the camera. This may be your day, but it has nothing to do with you. Got it?”
My fondness for past Presidents, and their crew, solidified. “I’m a US citizen, too, ya know.”
That’s when I saw it. A pad of construction paper and a set of markers sitting on a coffee table in front of a gold couch. Everyone else’s attention was on the Trump’s, fluffing their hair, applying makeup, pressing suits and skirts, and complimenting their graciousness for hosting all the little children of the world.
I walked to the table and scribbled three words in bold red marker on a piece of white paper. I was lucky to find inside an end table a roll of tape and a ruler. I taped the ruler to the back of the construction paper and tucked it in my basket.
“Don’t screw up,” an aide said, more like a yell, pushing me outdoors with zip and zest.
I stood to the left of Donald Trump, waving to the crowd with a right hand while holding the basket with a left hand. Trump welcomed the crowd, saying, “Probably this is the biggest crowd to ever attend this terrific event because no other President has done it better than me. That I can tell you.”
Convinced it was my last year—and the last chance—to leave a lasting mark as the Easter bunny at the White House, I pulled out the sign and held it next to Trump’s head.
I’M WITH STUPID.
Pulled by the arms inside the room, I was tackled by two members of the Secret Service. Pushed to the entrance gate and told to never come back again. Ever. And don’t expect one cent after that little stunt, you fucking spick. But do expect a lawsuit. Which never came, even after the video went viral and garnished eight million hits, everyone asking, who’s the person behind the mask, which provoked a Trump tweet: That HORRIBLE easter bunny is a NOBODY UNDOCUMENTED infestation who the LOW IQ DEMS (and liar Cohen) put him up to it. Witch CAN B proven. And will B soon. Talk about COLLUSION & OBSTRUCTION. Nice! MAGA!! GO USA!!! TRUMP 2020!!!!
Yes, I was a little bummed, but not entirely surprised, when no past President, nor any Presidential relation, offered support by way of endorsement—a simple counter argument, a few words of praise, an commendation to help teach the nation (and the world) that value, distinction, worth, and reliability come in all shapes, sizes, races, and, as it is, me.
Samuel E. Cole lives in Woodbury, MN, where he finds work in special event/development management. He’s a poet, flash fiction geek, and political essayist enthusiast. His work has appeared in many literary journals, and a first poetry collection, Bereft and the Same-Sex Heart, was published in October 2016 by Pski’s Porch Publishing. A second book, Bloodwork, a collection of short stories, was published by Pski’s Porch Publishing in July 2017. A third book, Siren Stitches, a collection of short stories, winner of the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction, was published by Three Waters Publishing in October 2017. A second poetry collection, Dollhouse Masquerade, was published by Truth Serum Press in May 2018. A third collection of short stories, Young Thieves in a Growing Orchard, will be published by Weasel Press in April 2019. He is also an award-winning card maker and scrapbooker.