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Biden arrives in US Virgin Islands to relax between holidays

KINGSILL, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (AP) — On Tuesday, President Joe Biden traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands, a place very familiar to him, to enjoy some downtime, warm weather, and welcome in the New Year with his family. I was.

The president and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, flew from Washington on Tuesday to St. Croix, one of the three islands that make up the US territory in the Caribbean. St. John and St. Thomas are his two other islands. The Bidens were joined by daughter Ashley and her husband Howard Klein, and grandchildren Natalie and Hunter.

St. Croix is ​​a tropical summer resort that Biden escaped from at least 2009 to 2017, when he was vice president.

“I’ve missed him all these years,” Beth Moth Mahal, a retired lawyer and resident of the island for nearly 30 years, said in a telephone interview.

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

Rep. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who represents the Virgin Islands in Congress, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

“Before, when he and his family came, of course, the sighting of President Biden was almost legendary,” she said.

The fact that Biden is considered one of the most powerful people in the world changes all sightings. As such, he now travels with a much larger footprint than when he was Vice President. This includes U.S. Secret Service agents, White House staff, and a large contingent of journalists covering the trip.

The Bidens have enjoyed spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day in warm weather, and Jill Biden likes the beach, sources said.

“We always look forward to him coming. Leave him alone and just let him relax,” said Donna Christensen, who was Plaskett’s predecessor in Congress.

“He always says, ‘He’ll live in St. Croix in the next life,'” she said in a phone interview.

Both Plaskett and Christensen expressed hope that paying attention to where Biden will spend his year-end holidays will amplify the challenges facing the U.S. Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories. of governments have to deal with aging infrastructure.

Biden was due to return to Washington on January 2nd. That comes a day before the president’s Democrats hand over control of the House to Republicans following November’s midterm elections, potentially complicating his two-year legislative agenda for the remainder of Biden’s term.

Democrats will continue to control the Senate of Congress, which sits on Jan. 3.