WASHINGTON — President Trump marked his first Easter Egg Roll on Monday by defending his record in office.
"We will be stronger and bigger and better as a nation than ever before and we are right on track," Trump said from the South Portico balcony, though he did not provide specifics in his brief remarks ahead of the annual festivities that date back to 1878.
"You see what's happening, and we're right on track," Trump repeated.
Later, while greeting members of the crowd, Trump responded to a question about his message for North Korea in light of this past weekend's failed missile test.
"They have to behave," Trump said.
In hosting the egg roll — whistling races to start, standing at attention for the national anthem beside the Easter bunny — Trump fulfilled one of the first ceremonial duties of his young tenure, as did first lady Melania Trump.
In her brief remarks to revelers, Mrs. Trump thanked military service members "who are keeping us safe" around the globe.
The Trumps hosted a scaled-down version of the event. The White House expected more than 21,000 children and adults to attend the Easter Egg Roll, down from the 35,000 guests who passed through the gates last year.
After his remarks, the president signed greeting cards for soldiers stationed overseas,autographed at least one children's book, and shook hands with members of the crowd.
Mrs. Trump, meanwhile, read a story to children called Party Animals.
"It shows we are all different but we are all the same," she said.