President Joe Biden returned to St. Croix, one of First Lady Jill Biden’s favorite vacation spots, this week for a final chance to rest before his controversial 2023 re-election prospects. I’m here.
As Biden unwinds in familiar surroundings, the first couple have visited the U.S. Virgin Islands for more than 12 years, taking about 10 vacations since the mid-2000s. Advisors have already prepared the president’s annual State of the Union address, which usually takes place in her late January or early February, and use this address to set out the stakes and themes Biden could employ in his campaign. see it as an opportunity.
The first couple arrived in St. Croix on Tuesday and their family, a close-knit clan gathering, now has another election at the White House, according to several people with knowledge of a recent conversation they told CNN. has pledged support for.By Biden. A senior government official once viewed this week’s exodus from the tropics as a pivotal juncture that would play a key role in determining his political future. , the decision is said to have been made essentially.
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The clues that Biden was expected in St. Croix were all over the preparations leading up to his arrival. A jumbo C-17 transport plane sat between the jumpers in the puddle of the airport. A temporary security checkpoint among bougainvillea along a quiet coastal road. An unusually high number of visitors from Washington.
Even in a popular tourist destination accustomed to waves of winter travelers, the president’s visit this week has exhausted the island’s resources.
After the Bidens have skipped the U.S. Virgin Islands tradition for the past two years, this trip may have the same vibe as one of their recent vacations. In early 2019, the last time Biden was considering running for president, the couple was photographed taking a selfie on New Year’s Day at his Pointe Udal on the Isle of Croy. Flag known as a popular tourist spot.
A decision has been made. A few months later, Biden announced his candidacy for president.
In 2014, Joe and Jill Biden really enjoyed their time on the island. Twice St. He visited the Isle of Croy. Once for the New Year, and his other one for his March weekend, a little vacation trip that wasn’t an official of the then Vice President. schedule.
In 2015, the couple went there again the week after Christmas after deciding not to run for the White House.
In 2016, Bidens spent the final days of his vice presidency relaxing on St. Croix before Donald Trump ascended to the White House.
Biden’s loyalty to U.S. territory is the most high-profile U.S. politician in recent history. Not since Harry S. Truman in 1948 has a sitting American president visited St. Croix.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton spent his winter vacation in St. Thomas, another U.S. Virgin Islands island, chartering a catamaran with his family to go snorkeling with his daughter, Chelsea.
In a 2020 statement, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said of Biden, “We think of him as our hometown president.” When asked why the Bidens chose St. Croix as their vacation destination, First Lady Vanessa Valdivia, her press secretary, told CNN: Several times to the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
During his tenure, Biden has avoided going out as much as possible on weekends in Washington, D.C., and sided with his longtime parents’ home in Wilmington, Delaware.
For the first couple, St. Croix offered such strong privacy along with the warmth and beaches that Biden favored.
During his visits in the years after Biden was vice president, when his security apparatus was weakened and normalcy returned to normal life, the first couple occasionally rode around the island with virtually no entourage. Found and drove along the flower-lined avenue in a rental Toyota sedan.
The house they leased was modest, with only a few bedrooms, and was available at other times for other tourists on vacation rental websites.
But on Tuesday, law enforcement was busy in the same area, preparing for Biden’s visit.
The first couple are “beach people,” said a family friend familiar with their vacation preferences. Others who knew them well said nothing was more fun than relaxing with an umbrella on the beach, throwing a towel on the sand, and closing your eyes in the warm sun.
Their neighbors, who live in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, are used to being screened by Secret Service agents during beach walks. This is the signal that the President or First His Lady has walked from their seaside villa to the beach to rest near the waves.
The First Lady, in particular, finds comfort in reading and sunbathing. This spring, Jill Biden’s staff made a solo trip to her three countries: Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica. Walk from the water’s edge and lay out like dozens of other vacationers.
Another close acquaintance of the Bidens said, “They both prefer hot, sunny and humid places to damp, snowy and cold.”
For the first couple, true rest includes not only sun and warmth, but also privacy. St. Croix passed the checklist. Locals spotted the couple years ago at the grocery store, but mostly went unnoticed as they shopped for holiday groceries at the Seaside Market and Deli.・I have played golf at the resort and it is a par 70 course described by the resort website as ‘challenging yet very easy to play’.
They attended Mass at the White Spireed Holy Cross Catholic Church in Christiansted, the island’s main town.
Your vacation from Washington comes right after the busy holiday season. Jill Biden had a few days of laryngitis as she was tasked with dozens of White House celebrations, photo shoots, family visits and general hosting duties, but she was admitted to Northern Virginia Community College. It is her second week away from teaching at .
For Joe Biden, rest and recovery aren’t the only gambles to escape.
Barring unforeseen circumstances or a sudden change of heart, Biden’s team is laying the groundwork for announcing re-election in the coming months, dispelling persistent speculation about whether the 80-year-old president will seek re-election. doing.
CNN reports that Jill Biden is “all in” for the 2024 election. As one White House official told CNN, she’s “absolutely not worried” about Joe Biden’s schedule and stamina.
“It’s ultimately a family decision,” Joe Biden said at a press conference last month.
Aside from the rigors of launching the final political campaign of his career, Biden faces a new Republican majority in the House, intent on thwarting many of his legislative ambitions. Republican leaders have also vowed to launch an investigation into the Biden administration and his family.
With legislative prospects fading, Mr. Biden plans to travel extensively in the new year to tout the accomplishments of his two years in office. It’s an intense time that could eventually include a rematch with opponent Trump in 2020 and will require the full support of his wife of 45 years, along with the support of his extended family. do.
If ever there was a time to talk about hesitation from himself or his descendants, it would be during this holiday.
Wayne Nichols, founding father of the Alexander Hamilton Tour of St. Croix, recalled meeting Biden in 2019. Island of.
At the time, Biden also had a difficult campaign in mind. After dropping out of his candidacy in 2016 after the death of his son, he had been encouraged by his family to challenge Trump.
Nichols said he stopped Biden and asked if he would run.
“My question to him was, ‘Are you going to run?’ He says, ‘Well, I’m running now.’ Nichols recalled this week, wondering if he would cross paths with Biden again.
Nichols ran into Joe Biden for the second time that week in 2019. As she strolled around the island, Joe Biden was in front of her and Jill Biden was a few steps behind her, and someone in the group asked Jill Biden if her husband should run. That’s when I said president.
“Let him know when you get there,” Nichols said she replied.
The Bidens are holding similar deliberations this year, so they won’t be traveling in rental Toyotas, and their stops on the island will be discreet.
“I feel like this is the place,” Nichols said of Biden’s frequent choice of St. Croix as a place to find tranquility to make important decisions about his future. “I’m lounging by the water because the weather is nice. They get to talking about it. And I believe he’s running again just because I don’t know if he thinks there’s another option.” increase.”