Biden denies marking Easter Sunday as 'Trans Visibility Day' as White House downplays backlash

Karine Jean-Pierre noted how FOX also celebrated observance

U.S. President Joe Biden, alongside the Easter Bunny (L), gestures after speaking at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2023.
U.S. President Joe Biden, alongside the Easter Bunny (L), gestures after speaking at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2023. | ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Monday seemed to deny issuing a proclamation marking Easter Sunday as Transgender Day of Visibility, as the White House attempted to downplay the backlash by claiming the commemoration was a coincidence.

In his Friday proclamation, Biden said, "On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation's commitment to forming a more perfect Union — where all people are created equal and treated equally throughout their lives."

The statement prompted a flurry of outrage, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who accused the Biden White House in an X post of "[betraying] the central tenet of Easter — which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

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"Banning sacred truth and tradition — while at the same time proclaiming Easter Sunday as 'Transgender Day' — is outrageous and abhorrent," Johnson added, referencing a since-retracted Daily Caller story that the Biden administration banned religious themes from this year's Easter egg contest. "The American people are taking note."

Biden also issued a separate statement commemorating Easter that mentioned Christ's Resurrection, though it was considerably shorter than the one for Transgender Day of Visibility.

On Monday, when reporters at the White House Easter Egg Roll asked him about Johnson's criticism, Biden deflected it by saying he "didn't do that" and that the speaker was "thoroughly uninformed."

In response, Johnson tweeted an image of the document highlighting Biden's name and signature. He told Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity on Tuesday that Biden's apparent unawareness of his own presidential proclamations potentially raises even more worrisome questions.

"Well, it's his own signature on the document, that's why we posted it," Johnson said. "The evidence speaks for itself, as we used to say in the courtroom."

Johnson noted that "it's highly possible that [Biden] doesn't even know what he's signing," which he said "might be even more alarming."

During her press briefing Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to downplay the backlash, claiming the Transgender Day of Visibility commemoration on Easter Sunday was coincidental since the observance falls on March 31 each year. 

She said that Republicans who got upset about it are exhibiting cruelty and trafficking misinformation.

"Every year for the past several years, on March 31, Transgender Day of Visibility is marked," she said. "And, as we know — for folks who understand the calendar and how it works — Easter falls on different Sundays every year, and this year, it happened to coincide with Transgender Visibility Day. And so, that is the simple fact. That is what has happened."

Claiming Biden is a Christian who stands for "bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American," Jean-Pierre went on to say that "it is actually unsurprising that politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric."

"President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit," Jean-Pierre added in an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump promoting "God Bless the USA" Bibles with musician Lee Greenwood during Holy Week.

Jean-Pierre pointed out how, in a tweet still viewable on X, the FOX network likewise celebrated the observance started in 2009 by Rachel Crandall-Crocker, a trans-identified activist who serves as executive director of the advocacy group Transgender Michigan.

In its coverage, Fox News cut the portion of her comments referring to the network, which has been scrutinized in the past for pushing left-wing causes.

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