OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump was frequently criticized by Democrats when he would work from his home in Mar-a-Lago, but those same Democrats appear to not care about President Joe Biden’s trips to Delaware, which have happened more frequently.
“Biden has spent more than a fourth of his presidency working from Delaware, outpacing Trump’s regular trips away,” a headline from CNN read on Monday. The president has made 55 trips to his home state, either at his home in Wilmington or Rehoboth Beach for a total of 164 days, CNN reported.
CNN acknowledged that Democrats had criticized former President Trump for spending 135 days at either his Mar-a-Lago home or his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“President Biden is deeply proud of his roots and his family and it has been a staple of his time in public life to never lose touch with either,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said. “Presidents of the United States are constantly on the job, regardless of their location – whether they’re on a state visit overseas or just 100 miles from the White House for a short trip to Wilmington, DE. And as all Americans can agree, it’s important for leaders to avoid becoming ensconced in Washington, DC.”
Some have said that times have changed after the pandemic, and working from home is much simpler than it was in the past.
“It is 2022, not 1922. If the rest of the country can work from home, so can the president of the United States,” first lady Jill Biden’s former press secretary, Michael LaRosa, said. “He spent (practically) every weekend in Delaware during his 36 years in the Senate, and his eight years as vice president. This is nothing new. The Bidens have never lived in Washington, DC.”
But Biden’s pace could be record-breaking.
The statistics – 236 days away from the White House in Delaware and Maryland in less than two years on the job – are significant for the modern presidency. The job has been set in the nation’s capital near the Congress and the Supreme Court, in part for its symbolic power, for more than 220 years. Being in that power center brings a higher level of transparency thanks to the proximity to the national media, along with White House rules about press access and public records about who comes and goes.
Whenever the president is actually in the Oval Office, for example, that presence is honored by the solemn watch of a stone-faced US Marine posted outside the West Wing.
“A special challenge that Biden faces, because of his age, is that people will assume the worst if he’s not always visible. That is something that comes with being the oldest president in office,” said Tim Naftali, a CNN presidential historian, who notes presidents have had a “moveable Oval Office” for decades. “Perception is important in American politics.”
What is concerning about President Biden’s time in Delaware is that the Secret Service apparently does not know who he is meeting with.
The United States Secret Service has admitted that no records exist of who President Joe Biden has met with at his Delaware home.
The agency said on Wednesday that no records exist of those visits as a New York Post Freedom of Information Act request was denied, Fox News reported.
In a letter dated September 27, Secret Service deputy director Faron Paramore wrote, “the agency conducted an additional search of relevant program offices for potentially responsive records,” according to the paper.
“This search also produced no responsive records,” the letter read. “Accordingly, your appeal is denied.” The denial is the latest in a series of developments involving Biden’s records.
In a March 2010 email reviewed by Fox New Digital, the office of then-Vice President Biden expressed concerns about the University of Delaware’s terms for the “deed of gift” for his Senate papers “due to the political sensitivities” that could arise from releasing the papers to the public. The email went on to list some sections that needed to be reviewed, including “Property ownership,” “Timing of archival processing and public release,” “Opportunity for review prior to release,” and “Scope.”
In April the Secret Service said it did not have any records of who President Joe Biden meets with when he is at his home in Delaware, where he has spent considerable time during his presidency.
He has spent around a quarter of his first year as president at his residences in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, but not much is known about any official meetings he has had or any lobbying efforts that took place, The New York Post reported.
The Post sought more than one year of visitor log records, including for Biden’s first year in office, but Secret Service Freedom of Information Act officer Kevin Tyrrell wrote in a response dated Monday that “[t]he Secret Service FOIA Office searched all Program Offices that were likely to contain potentially responsive records, and no records were located.”
First son Hunter Biden is under criminal investigation for possible tax fraud and unregistered foreign lobbying after routinely seeking business in countries where his father held sway as vice president. The younger Biden worked on some overseas projects with his uncle Jim Biden.
Documents and photos from a laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter Biden indicate that he introduced his dad to business associates from China, Mexico, Russia, and Ukraine — including at the vice president’s residence in Washington.
Biden was at one of his Delaware homes for 99 days during his first year in office, including for official business, such as an Oct. 24 breakfast where Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lobbied centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to support Biden’s Build Back Better Act social spending plan.