'Go get your bathing suits!': Biden takes vacation as Washington waves

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC — During a week-long vacation in South Carolina, President Biden delivered a message to reporters camped nearby, eager...


KIAWAH ISLAND, SC — During a week-long vacation in South Carolina, President Biden delivered a message to reporters camped nearby, eager to hear his thoughts on his recent legislative victories and the particularly heated political news cycle back in Washington.

“Go get your bathing suits!” Mr Biden gave a shout on Sunday, wearing his Ray-Ban sunglasses and a big smile as he cycled on the beach with first lady Jill Biden.

Whereas Washington was in a frenzy following the revelation last week of a federal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump processing of sensitive documents and potential violation of the Espionage Act, Mr. Biden has made a point of trying to keep the chaos at bay.

Presidents often try to find time — but rarely succeed — to briefly disconnect from the day-to-day responsibilities of their office. In modern times, presidential holidays often offer periods of relaxation interrupted by moments of crisis.

Last year, one of Mr Biden’s trips was canceled as the United States withdrew from Afghanistan. This time around, a rebound case of the coronavirus has maintained its summer plans broken for two weeks.

President George W. Bush, who frequently escaped to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, for vacations, found himself there in the summer of 2005 as Hurricane Katrina aimed directly at New Orleans. He was also in Crawford in 2001 when intelligence agencies warned of a possible al-Qaeda attack months before 9/11.

In the summer of 2014, President Barack Obama was heading to the golf course on his first day of vacation at Martha’s Vineyard when news arrived that James Foley, an American journalist, had been beheaded by Islamic State terrorists. . Mr Obama held a press conference on the island and then continued his round of golf, drawing criticism for his callousness.

Mr Trump ordered a missile strike on Syria during a break at his Mar-a-Lago resort in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in this civil war. country.

Mr. Biden returned to Washington on Tuesday for a brief stopover in sign in law one of his notable accomplishments as president: Inflation Reduction Actaimed at reducing the cost of prescription drugs and fighting climate change.

But he left Tuesday evening for Wilmington, Del., to continue his summer vacation in his home country for another week. (Dr. Biden remained in South Carolina, self-isolating after a positive coronavirus test Tuesday morning.)

Mr. Biden returns to Delaware often, even during busy times, to spend time with his family and enjoy a kind of privacy that is hard to find in the White House. But Kiawah Island, about 40 minutes south of Charleston, turned out to be a real getaway for the Biden family, unlike the Laid back coastal town of Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, where he and the first lady own a beach house.

While Rehoboth’s crowded boardwalk has vendors leaning on the Biden connection and even selling themed merchandise, the quiet coast of Kiawah Island is lined with well-maintained mansions. Most of the residences as well as the island’s famous resort and golf course are located behind a strict security checkpoint where guests must apply for a pass before they even arrive.

The president and first lady, along with their son Hunter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, stayed at a sprawling beachfront estate owned by a friend where they have stayed on previous visits to the island, according to the White House. The residence was protected from the street by a winding driveway and thick vegetation, and the Secret Service reportedly blocked off a stretch of beach.

The White House has not described Mr. Biden’s activities over the past week, but other than a trip to the golf club for a quick recording of digital material for the White House, he has ventured out only for the mass at a local Catholic church on Saturday evening. , the Sunday bike ride and a trip to the island’s beach club on Monday evening.

Mr. Biden has deep ties to South Carolina that date back to his close relationship with Ernest F. Hollings, the former Democratic state senator who helped persuade Mr. Biden to stay in the Senate after the 1972 car crash that killed his first wife and baby daughter.

“It’s very serene, and as a result, I think he’s found peace there over the years,” said Richard Harpootlian, a South Carolina state senator who has known the president for years. decades. “I think it’s the perfect way for him to decompress from all the horrors in Washington.”

Local residents said they were happy to leave the first family vacation in peace.

“We’re not making a fuss,” said Linda Malcolm, a Kiawah Island resident and owner of a local bookstore where some members of the Biden family — but not the president — spent time shopping. sunday. “They also deserve some time off.”

Ms Malcolm acknowledged there had been concerns on the island about potential disruptions to the President’s trip, but said they were largely unfounded.

Mr. Biden’s flights have caused delays at Charleston International Airport, as Joint Base Charleston shares its airfield with the commercial airport. But on entering, Mr Biden flew to Marine One from the international airport to a smaller airfield less than half an hour from where the family had been staying, a move that prevented the closure of streets in downtown Charleston.

And the president’s motorcade caused only a slight slowdown in traffic on its only excursion off the island on Saturday. Curious drivers were quick to pull out their phones, while pedestrians and cyclists happily waved as he passed.

Caitlin Tuten-Rhodes, 32, who like many locals vaguely remembers Biden’s previous trips to the region as vice president, said Charleston and Kiawah Island have long attracted celebrities and politicians high level.

But it’s still a thrill, she says, to know she might bump into Mr. Biden in town.

“How often do you see a president,” Ms. Tuten-Rhodes said, “even if it’s from afar?”

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Newsrust - US Top News: 'Go get your bathing suits!': Biden takes vacation as Washington waves
'Go get your bathing suits!': Biden takes vacation as Washington waves
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