“When I die,” he said, wiping away tears, “Delaware will be written in my heart and in the hearts of all the bidens.”
He returned two and a half weeks later.
Feeling confined to what he has called the White House’s “golden cage” and looking for a dose of familiarity, Biden has begun a regular pattern of leaving Washington on weekends. For the third time in the seven weeks he has been in office, Biden returned to Wilmington on Friday, continuing a weekend travel pattern, starting as a senator and continuing as vice president and seems willing to stay as a commander in chief.
For Biden, time is mostly family and private. He hasn’t played a round of golf yet, though it may be more due to the cold weather than the desire; Biden was considered one of the best golfers in Washington when he served as vice president and has been a member of the Wilmington Country Club in the past.
Officials said they expected Biden to go to Delaware or Camp David frequently on weekends. Desired for the tranquility of his family and to have more room to wander than the White House grounds can provide, he follows a well-worn pattern of presidents leaving Washington on Friday afternoon.
Like them, Biden brings with him only a minimal number of staff, which last weekend has included senior advisers Bruce Reed and Steve Ricchetti; The Chief of Staff of the National Security Council, Yohannes Abraham; personal assistant Stephen Goepfert; and photographer Adam Schultz.
His home has been equipped with secure communications equipment and facilities, although so far Biden has not yet faced major national property security crises, as Trump often did from Mar-a-Lago.
Biden’s plans for his weekend outings outside the White House can sometimes evolve up to a day or two before he leaves. A person familiar with the president’s travel schedule says that an alleged weekend near Camp David, for example, may change in Wilmington, a change of heart that the president must make, but that he can still launch his apparatus last minute support. stir.
“Going out on Saturday instead of Friday isn’t a big deal for a civilian and it doesn’t change where you want to go either, but that kind of change with him causes a ripple effect,” the person says. “Dozens of schedules, plans and staff need to be modified.”
In recent weeks, Biden has changed his destination or departure date at least three times on fast trips out of Washington, the person says.
Wilmington de Biden
Wilmington, where temperatures this weekend will fluctuate in the mid-1950s, does not provide the warm breezes of Palm Beach or the dry heat of Texas. Known primarily for its corporate banking industry, the city is not considered a weekend getaway destination.
But for Biden, it’s a place where the limitations of living in the White House loosen up, even for a few nights. He still has routes to take in the city, as if his orthopedist were examining his foot. Some of his grandchildren live nearby. His church, St. Joseph on the Brandywine, is five minutes away.
“The president lives in Wilmington; it’s his home. That’s where he’s lived for many, many years,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week, explaining why Biden came back so often. and just like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. continues to discourage non-essential travel in the midst of the pandemic.
“Like any U.S. president, he takes a private jet called Air Force One to travel there,” he said. “This is, of course, unique to most Americans, but I think most Americans would also see it as a unique circumstance.”
“I said that when I ran for office, I want him to be president, not to live in the White House,” he said, describing that he felt confined to the executive mansion, despite his size. Part of the inconvenience, he said, was the staff at the residence, which he praised for his professionalism, but which he said he had become accustomed to.
“I grew up in a way that you weren’t looking for anyone to wait for you,” he said. “And that’s where I find myself extremely self-conscious.”
This is not the case with the Delaware Lake House, where bidens do not hire large domestic staff and generally take care of themselves. Before coming to the presidency, Biden used to walk his two German shepherds, Major and Champ, through the courtyard before going to bed.
The dogs were moved to the White House in January, where Superintendent of Lands Dale Haney has taken on a role to walk them, a duty assumed from the Irish setter of Richard Nixon, King Timahoe. They are sometimes seen in the Oval Office.
So far, Biden has not returned to Champ and Major in Delaware aboard the Air Force One, although last weekend his granddaughter Naomi took her brown and white dog named Washington to the plane. Charlie.
Biden’s 6,850-square-foot home, located on a lake west of downtown Wilmington, has been its base since 1996, when it bought the four-acre plot and built a custom home. It is located in one of the most expensive areas of the state and rents a country house on its property to the Secret Service in an agreement that began when he was vice president.
Unlike Trump, activities at Mar-a-Lago were tracked down by guests and speaking members of the camera, or by Bush, who took pictures while cleaning the brush, Biden’s chases at his lake home continue a a little more guarded.
The house is not visible from the road, and journalists have rarely been allowed to get off the road and see the building.
A photograph released by the White House earlier this year shows Biden calling service members in Kabul and aboard the USS Nimitz as he watched the Super Bowl from his wooden-clad lair, his arm hanging over a brown Chesterfield sofa and an archaic square tube TV presumably broadcasting the game in the background (the screen blurred into the image).
Other images of the interior of Biden’s house show traditional décor such as antique tables and a grandfather clock, a black-and-white tiled lobby, and shelves spread with memories of his long career and photographs of his family. When he spent months broadcasting from home during the campaign, his backdrop was a library-style shelf adorned with a folded American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of his late son Beau, who is buried in the cemetery near Biden’s house.
In 2016, Biden told CNN that he had considered selling the house to help care for Beau’s children after he died of brain cancer. But he said President Barack Obama, upon learning of the plan, intervened.
“He got up and said,‘ Don’t sell this house. Promise me you won’t sell it, “Biden said.” He said, “I’ll give you the money. Anything you need, I’ll give you the money. No, Joe, promise me. Promise me.”
In the years following his vice presidency, Biden bought a home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which the family frequented during the summer months of the campaign and during the holidays prior to his last move to the White House.
When Biden first traveled to Delaware in early February, he told reporters that he planned to “see my grandchildren and hang out with Jill,” referring to the first lady, while picking up her belongings. -from our house to the other house “.
But it has become clear since then that round-trip trips from the White House to Wilmington will be more frequent, as did Biden as a senator and then vice president.
For most of his career, the trip was made by train, a commute that became the center of his political personality and earned him naming rights at Wilmington Amtrak Station. The roughly 90-minute journey between Wilmington and Washington was so central to Biden’s history that the then-senator launched his first presidential candidacy in 1987 at his hometown’s train station.
When he began his travels in the 1970s, Biden was a somewhat anonymous senator who traveled to work. But during his eight years as vice president, whenever he returned to the train, he would be flanked by the Secret Service and his reservation would be anonymous for security reasons.
He told CNN in 2017 when he was traveling to Delaware after Trump took office that he had made 8,200 round-trip train trips over the years.
CNN’s Kate Bennett contributed to this report.
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