President Biden Clarifies Weekend in Delaware Amid Rising Criticism for Time Away from Work
Washington D.C. — President Joe Biden sought to clarify his recent weekend trip to Delaware, stating it was not a vacation but rather a forced detour due to security upgrades at his primary residence in Wilmington, Delaware. The comments come as the president faces increased scrutiny for his time away from the White House during moments of national crisis, including the devastating Maui fires and Hurricane Idalia in Florida.
"I have no home to go to," said President Biden, who usually resides at the White House during weekdays. He clarified that the U.S. Secret Service is currently securing his Wilmington home, leaving him with his Rehoboth Beach property for the weekend. "So I have no place to go when I come to Delaware, except here, right now," he added.
Public opinion has been mixed about President Biden's handling of recent crises. Criticism has grown sharper following the Maui fires, which started on Aug. 8 and have caused widespread damage, with 115 people confirmed dead and 385 missing. Critics argue that the president should not be away from the White House during such critical times.
Monica Crowley, a former U.S. Treasury Department assistant secretary during the Trump administration, accused the president of lacking concern for suffering Americans. "Biden doesn't [care] about the suffering people of Maui. Or the suffering people of East Palestine, Ohio. Or the suffering people in border towns. Or the suffering people anywhere in America," she wrote on social media.
In response to queries about the president's supposed 'vacations,' Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pointed to the government's efforts, highlighting that FEMA personnel had been dispatched to affected regions. "When you talk about a dozen agencies on the ground, helping and assisting … hundreds of FEMA personnel. That’s what—that’s what matters,” she stated.
A Tale of Two Disasters
President Biden's response to Hurricane Idalia in Florida has been notably faster. The president visited the affected areas on Sept. 2, just three days after the hurricane made landfall. He used the opportunity to offer comforting words to the affected communities. "When people are in real trouble the most important thing you can give them is hope," he told onlookers and reporters.
However, President Biden has yet to visit the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. This absence has not gone unnoticed, adding to a perception among some that the president is not fully engaged in the crises at hand.
As the nation grapples with multiple challenges, the debate around President Biden's time away from the White House seems likely to continue, especially in the context of forthcoming midterm elections.