President Biden Is in U.S. Virgin Islands to Relax Between Holidays

From an AP story by Darlene Superville headlined “Biden arrives in US Virgin Islands to relax between holidays”:

KINGSHILL, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday traveled to a place very familiar to him — the U.S. Virgin Islands — to enjoy some downtime and warmer weather and to ring in a new year with family.

The president and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, flew from Washington on Tuesday to St. Croix, one of three islands that make up the U.S. territory in the Caribbean. The Bidens were joined by their daughter Ashley and her husband, Howard Krein, as well as grandchildren Natalie and Hunter, whose father was the president’s late son, Beau.

St. Croix is a tropical getaway that Biden has been getting away to at least since he was vice president, from 2009 to 2017.

“We’ve missed him the last couple of years,” Beth Moss Mahar, a retired attorney and island resident for nearly three decades, said.

Biden spent the holidays at his home in Delaware in 2020 and 2021, mostly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week’s visit to St. Croix will be his first as president to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“We’re tremendously honored,” Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who represents the Virgin Islands in Congress, said Tuesday.

“In the past, when he and his family have come, of course sightings of President Biden were almost a thing of legend,” she said.

Any sightings will now be altered by the fact that Biden is regarded as one of the world’s most powerful men. He now travels with a significantly bigger footprint than when he was vice president, including a large contingent of U.S. Secret Service agents, White House staff and journalists covering the trip.

Biden and his wife enjoy spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day in a warmer climate, and Jill Biden likes a beach, aides said.

“We always look forward to his coming and we really understand that this is a place of relaxation for him and Jill and whatever other family he may bring with him and so we leave him alone and let him just relax,” said Donna Christensen, who was Plaskett’s predecessor in Congress.

“He usually says, ‘In my next life, I’m living in St. Croix,’” she said.

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