America’s oldest president now is also America’s most vacationed president. President Joe Biden has set a record for spending the most time on vacation. He has spent 40 percent of his presidency on vacation. Thus far, Biden has spent at least 360 days in Delaware.
What is Joe Biden Doing?
When Joe Biden was a senator, he was well-known for taking Amtrak home to Delaware fairly regularly from Washington.
Presidential vacationing has been the butt of partisan and media jokes for decades. Presidents take their office with them wherever they go.
“A vacation for a president is not really a vacation — you’re not ever fully off,” Tevi Troy, a presidential historian and former White House aide, told NPR.
A Presidential Vacation is Like No Other
The president cannot even go for a bike ride without having his entourage follow him.
“You have to bring national security aides, you have to bring a [communications] apparatus, obviously you have to bring the football — which is the nuclear codes — so a presidential vacation is much more complicated than just loading up the minivan with some peanut butter sandwiches and suitcases,” Troy said.
His predecessor and potential successor former President Donald Trump frequently traveled to Mar-a-Lago while he was president. He liked to say that he always was working.
“I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off,” The Associated Press quoted Trump as having said.
The Bushes and Their Working Vacations
Former President George H.W. Bush used to run off to his Kennebunkport, Maine compound during his four-year presidency rather frequently. He made at least 150 visits during his presidency to the compound. The former president even spent time there while he was carrying out Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
His son, former President George W. Bush, was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
“George W. Bush was on vacation in 2005 when [Hurricane] Katrina hit, and he initially thought he was not going to return to Washington,” Troy said. “You had a lot of pressure for him to get more involved. He flew back, but he flew back over the affected area and that sight of him looking down from Air Force One was a picture of him looking aloof and out of touch. And it was probably the worst photo-op of the Bush presidency.”
Partisan Vacation Complaints Silly
Troy noted that the party that is not in power complains every time a president from the opposing party goes on vacation and that it’s silly.
“One pet peeve of mine is that when a Republican president is in office, the Democrats scream, ‘How dare they go on vacation?’ When the Democrats in office, the Republicans scream, ‘How dare they go on vacation?’” Troy said. “Every president deserves their vacation, and I think it’s fruitless to criticize them for going on their vacations — they deserve it.”
Some people such as Daniel Fry of Kansas City, who was visiting Rehoboth Beach while Biden was in town told NPR he thought it was cool to have a president vacationing there.
“I’m personally as pro-Republican and pro-Trump as can be,” he said. “I am not a fan of the Democrats, I am not a fan of Joe Biden, but he’s still our American president and it’s always been an honor and privilege to be in the presence of the president. So I think it’s kind of a cool thing.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.