On Passover Eve, White House Seder Not on Trump's Official Schedule

The U.S. president's schedule doesn’t feature a festive dinner, but his free evening may yet be devoted to a Passover celebration

U.S. President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and their children at the White House.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

On Monday evening, Jewish people around the world will gather to celebrate Passover. But it is still unclear what exactly will happen at the White House, where the Jewish holiday was celebrated for the past eight years in a "presidential seder" – a tradition initiated by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

The tradition of holding a presidential seder was started by a number of Obama's Jewish aides, who held a seder dinner together with him on the campaign trail the year before he entered the White House. Obama was then the first American president to hold a seder at the presidential residence, and on some occasions was joined by his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Sasha and Malia.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has a Jewish daughter and grandchildren, could continue this tradition – but as of Monday morning, it was still unclear whether he will. On Thursday, Jewish Insider reported that a seder will be held at the White House by a number of Jewish aides, but that the president's participation wasn't certain, mainly because of Trump's busy schedule as a result of the Syria crisis.

Obama marks the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House, March 29, 2010.
The White House

It also isn't clear whether Jared Kushner, the president's Jewish son-in-law and senior adviser, will participate in the White House seder or instead spend the evening with his family outside of Washington. The same applies for Ivanka Trump, Kushner's wife. 

Under past administrations, Jewish staffers in the White House had held seder dinners together. Yet the significance of the Obama years was the president's participation in the event.

On Sunday night, the White House released Trump's public schedule for Monday, and a seder dinner did not appear in it. However, the last public event in the schedule is a 4 P.M. meeting with Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, perhaps meaning that the president will be free to attend a seder in the evening hours.