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Trump attacks Biden over Easter coinciding with Transgender Day of Visibility

Donald Trump, his campaign and his allies invoked religion in a flurry of political grievances this weekend, including by attacking President Biden for acknowledging International Transgender Day of Visibility — which happened to fall this year on Easter Sunday — and also making false claims that Biden newly prohibited children from submitting religious egg designs to a White House Easter art contest.

The attacks come on the heels of Trump announcing that he was selling $60 Bibles, which attracted criticism from Democrats and some religious leaders, and as Trump fired off dozens of social media posts Sunday that targeted his political rivals and railed against his legal troubles.

The latest salvo began Friday, after the White House issued a proclamation recognizing Sunday as Transgender Day of Visibility and called on Americans to “join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination based on gender identity.”

The acknowledgment was not new. Since 2009, International Transgender Day of Visibility has been held annually on March 31, and the Biden administration has marked the day every year since Biden was elected. The date of Easter, meanwhile, changes from year to year, falling on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the spring equinox.

Trump and Republicans, however, immediately cast the coincidence as an attack on Easter. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) accused the White House of having “betrayed the central tenet of Easter — which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

“Banning sacred truth and tradition — while at the same time proclaiming Easter Sunday as ‘Transgender Day’ — is outrageous and abhorrent. The American people are taking note,” Johnson wrote in a post on X.

In a statement Saturday, Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt claimed that declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday was “blasphemous” and called on Biden “to issue an apology to the millions of Catholics and Christians across America who believe tomorrow is for one celebration only — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

It is unclear why the statement distinguished between Catholics and Christians, since the former are Christians as well.

When asked Sunday, Leavitt did not address the issue but again repeated the false claim that Biden “chose” Easter to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility, even though it has fallen on March 31 since 2009. “The Biden Administration has spent years appeasing left-wing activists and disrespecting the Christian faith,” Leavitt said in a statement to The Washington Post.

Biden, a devout Catholic, speaks often about his faith and attends church every weekend. He is the second Catholic to be U.S. president. On Sunday morning, he issued a statement celebrating Easter observances.

“As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. We pray for one another and cherish the blessing of the dawn of new possibilities,” Biden said. “And with wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security, and dignity for all people.”

Leavitt also blasted Biden for supposedly having “prohibited children from submitting religious egg designs for their Easter Art Event,” referring to a long-running Easter tradition in which children of National Guard members submit decorated eggs to be displayed at the White House.

The American Egg Board, which administers the contest, said rules dictating what is allowed in the Easter egg decorating contest have remained consistent for more than 45 years — including during the Trump administration. Contest guidelines state that eggs “must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements.”

“The Egg Board and other commodity boards are prohibited from discriminating in all programming and activities on the basis of religion, political beliefs and all other stated categories,” Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, said in a statement.

That did not stop Republicans and conservative outlets — including South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and Fox News — from playing up the restrictions, suggesting that they were new to the Biden administration.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), a senior pastor at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, defended Biden, pointing out that the date for Easter changes every year.

“Apparently the speaker finds trans people ‘abhorrent,’ and I think he ought to think about that,” Warnock said. “This is the opposite of the Christian faith. Jesus centered the marginalized, he centered the poor. And in a moment like this, we need voices, particularly voices of faith who would use our faith not as a weapon to beat other people down, but as a bridge to bring all of us together.”

In a statement Sunday, White House spokesman Andrew Bates expressed similar sentiments, while knocking Trump for hawking $60 Bibles and for his rhetoric over Easter weekend.

“As a Christian who celebrates Easter with family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American,” Bates said. “Sadly, it’s unsurprising 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.”

Trump also posted an article to his social media network on Saturday that likened his legal troubles to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

In another all-caps post to his social media network Sunday, Trump invoked the holiday to claim without evidence that those prosecuting him were politically motivated.

On Friday, Trump shared on social media an image of Biden with his hands and feet tied, the latest example of the Republican candidate’s use of increasingly violent imagery this campaign season.

Last week, Trump urged his supporters to buy his Bibles that included a handwritten chorus to “God Bless the USA” by singer and supporter Lee Greenwood. Trump licensed his name, likeness and image to sell the Bibles through CIC Ventures LLC, for which Trump serves as “manager, president, secretary and treasurer.”

The former president has sold other Trump-branded items since leaving office, including digital trading cards, cologne and $399 “Never Surrender” sneakers. Some of Trump’s pitches are designed to benefit his campaign, but most appear to be designed to enrich him personally at a time when he faces a cash crunch amid his legal woes.

Hannah Knowles, Azi Paybarah and Philip Bump contributed to this report.

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