President Joe Biden and his family arrived in South Carolina on Wednesday for a week-long vacation on Kiawah Island hours after his grandson Beau stole the show upon departure by mimicking the president by wearing a matching blue mini-me suit and waving at the crowd.
Biden, accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, departed the White House by motorcade to Joint Base Andrews outside the capital where they were joined on Air Force One by his son, Hunter Biden, daughter-in-law Melissa Cohen and grandson Beau.
Baby Beau was decked out in a mini suit as he clung to his grandfather’s hand and waved to a military greeter, as the president saluted on the Air Force One’s stairs.
The family was then flown to Joint Base Charleston where they were dropped off at a private home in a gated community alongside a golf course on Kiawah Island.
The White House did not respond to requests to provide details on Biden’s vacation schedule, activities or when he planned to return to Washington. The president will stay at a friend’s home on the island that the family has used for previous visits, according to a White House official.
The Presidential motorcade arrives at Kiawah Island, South Carolina where the Biden family will vacation for a week
President Joe Biden (center left) and his family departed Washington Wednesday for vacation. He traveled with grandson baby Beau (center) and son Hunter Biden (second from right)
The trip comes after the president tested negative for COVID this past weekend, finally being free of his isolation and reuniting with his wife after spending nearly three weeks apart due to his infection.
Biden has been cleared to travel by his doctor but is still suffering from a post-COVID cough.
The Bidens have visited the Kiawah several times before – including four times when he was vice president – but this is his first visit since winning the White House.
While Biden is in South Carolina, the House is set to vote to approve a bill full of Biden’s priorities, including the most substantial investment in history to fight climate change, some $369 billion over the decade. The measure would cap prescription drug costs at $2,000 out-of-pocket for Medicare recipients and help an estimated 13 million Americans pay for health care insurance by extending subsidies provided during the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House demurred on when Biden plans to sign the bill, saying it was focused on helping ensure the House approved the measure.
Biden’s 2021 vacation plans were scrambled by Washington’s legislative calendar, a COVID-19 case surge, and the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Summer vacations are a presidential tradition. George W. Bush often spent August clearing brush in the 100-degree heat that baked his central Texas ranch. Barack Obama worked on his golf game on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard. Donald Trump spent time at his home on his private golf club in central New Jersey.
The White House in the past has emphasized that the president is never truly free from the job’s responsibilities – and that he’ll continue to consult with aides and take his daily national security briefing regardless of his location.
And at times, presidents have had to make legacy-defining decisions while on vacation, including Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina flooding New Orleans in 2005. Bill Clinton ordered airstrikes against al-Qaida terrorists from Martha’s Vineyard in response to the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
And Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, planned the U.S. response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 from his family’s oceanfront compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.
President Joe Biden (left) looks at grandson baby Beau Biden (right) on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews Wednesday as the family departed for summer vacation in South Carolina
Melissa Cohen (left) gets out of the Beast while President Joe Biden (center) and baby Beau Biden (center right) salute and wave to their military greeter
First Lady Jill Biden waves to reporters as she boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews Wednesday bound for South Carolina
The trip comes after the president tested negative for COVID this past weekend, finally being free of his isolation and reuniting with his wife after spending nearly three weeks apart
President Joe Biden waves before departing for a week-long vacation in South Carolina after being cleared to travel post-COVID infection
Baby Beau Biden, the president’s grandson is seen through the window of his grandfather’s motorcade on Wednesday
The White House has not said how long the Bidens will be on the private island but there are FAA flight restrictions in place through Tuesday. Those restrictions are standard operating procedure when a president visits an area.
There are many private residences on the island, including homes owned by former Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, Olympic gold-medalist figure skater Tara Lipinski and NBA basketball player Ray Allen.
While Biden is gone, the House will vote on the Inflation Reduction Act that was passed by the Senate this weekend.
The bill became the Democrats’ signature legislative package – replacing Biden’s Build Back Better after it failed to garner enough Democratic support.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden supports, contains funding for health and climate programs.
President Joe Biden (left) also gave a thumbs up as he departed. Son Hunter Biden (right) is seen standing behind him
Baby Beau Biden (right) crosses his arms on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrew Wednesday as the Biden family departed for vacation in South Carolina
President Joe Biden (left) and First Lady Jill Biden (right) disembark Air Force One as they arrive at the Charleston Air Force Base in North Charleston on Wednesday to kick off family vacation
President Joe Biden (left) and First Lady Jill Biden (right) arrive in North Charleston to start their family vacation in South Carolina
Hunter Biden (right) holds the hand of baby Beau Biden (left) as they walk down the steps of Air Force One Wednesday
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden shake hands with military greetrs at Joint Base Charleston
Baby Beau Biden (center) stands with First Lady Jill Biden (left) as the president meets and greets with military personnel at Joint Base Charleston Wednesday
The Biden family (from left): First Lady Jill Biden, President Joe Biden, Melissa Cohen, baby Beau Biden and Hunter Biden walk toward Marine One Wednesday
Marine One flew the Bidens to a second airport, the Charleston Executive Airport, and then they took a motorcade to their South Carolina rental home
President Joe Biden (left) escorts First Lady Jill Biden (right) to the waiting Beast as the Biden family arrives for vacation in South Carolina Wednesday
Democrats also claim it will help reduce the record high inflation the country is experiencing – which some fear will turn to voter anger at the president’s party in the November election.
Before Biden left on his vacation, he signed the PACT Act into law. The legislation expands healthcare for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. Biden has previously said he believes his son Beau’s cancer, which killed him in 2015, was caused by Beau’s exposure to burn pits during his military service in Iraq.
The president typically heads to Delaware for his respites, either at his home in Wilmington or his beach house in Rehoboth. He spent part of August last year at each of those homes.
But the Bidens are no strangers to Kiawah.
They previously visited the island in 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015 when Biden was vice president.
And President Biden last visited South Carolina in December when he spoke at South Carolina State University’s graduation at the invitation of his close friend, Rep. Jim Clyburn.
Kiawah, an island of 15 miles square feet, has an oceanfront golf resort and is 25 miles from Charleston. It is known as being one of the premier golf destinations on the East Coast.
In May of 2021, the PGA held its championship at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.
Biden is a golf player but usually only hits the links at his country club in Wilmington.
In his first 18 months in office, Biden played 15 rounds of golf, according to former CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, who tracks presidential data.