You don’t earn a nickname like “Amtrak Joe” without riding the rails quite a lot, and it is no secret that President Joe Biden used to take the train back home to Delaware almost nightly while he served as a United States Senator. The president has also gotten plenty of miles out of his railway stories.
Today, he still returns to Delaware – albeit a bit less given that the train isn’t generally an option. Instead, he flies back home as often as he can.
As Delaware Online reported on Monday, Biden has so far made 76 trips to Delaware since his inauguration in January 2021. Most were for weekend visits to one of his two homes, though others were just single-day trips that were recorded as being for official business or attending funerals.
Moreover, the average time spent back “home” has been three and a half days, while he also spent a total of 11 days on one trip. In total, since January 20, 2021, Biden has now spent part of at least 265 days in the “First State.” That puts Biden first on the list of presidents in terms of time away from the White House. It was reported in August that he has spent 40 percent of his first term away from the Oval Office.
The Costs to Delaware is Rising
Joe and Jill Biden clearly love their Delaware home, but other residents of the state would probably be unhappy to hear what these frequent trips are costing. New Castle County spent more than $3.27 million just on police and emergency medical services for Biden in the past three years, including a few just prior to his inauguration.
The bulk of the money – almost $3.08 million – was on salaries and benefits. The rest was towards paramedics, who are tasked with following POTUS during his visits.
That’s just for his trips to his primary home.
When Biden visits his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, paramedics are paid for by Sussex County, which relies on administrative personnel at times to avoid having to pay overtime. However, on a few occasions, when field medics were needed, overtime hours were reportedly logged.
Delaware Online also reported the Criminal Justice Council applies for federal grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse local law enforcement agencies and others tasked with providing protection to the president while he’s in town.
There are two points to be addressed.
First, money that could be used to help those recovering from a disaster is basically paying for Biden to ride his bike in Delaware, while second, the council reviews all expenditures and related data with a “find-toothed comb,” before submitting the grant application. That latter point suggests money is being spent to see how money is being spent, while reimbursements are then made based on the federal fiscal year. It typically takes a year for New Castle County to be refunded.
It isn’t just the local law enforcement and EMS that can add up quickly.
Then There is the Cost of Flying
A Fox News Channel report from last year found that Biden’s trips up to November 2022 had cost $11 million – to fly there via Air Force One and/or Marine One. While Biden’s trips from Delaware to Washington each day cost around $100, the trips to Delaware via air are about $200,000 round trip – far beyond a first-class commercial ticket to the First State from almost anywhere.
This could be seen as rather unnecessary – a point that would hold to any president, especially as there are other options on how to spend the weekend, a point also noted by Fox News. The White House has several amenities that make it quite a comfortable home. It has a private movie theater, swimming pool, a billiard room, and a running track.
Additionally, Camp David is just half an hour away by helicopter – costing far less than a trip back to Delaware.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.