The first couple was planning to be in Kiawah Island, noted for its private beach and golf resort, through Tuesday, according to Federal Aviation Administration advisories.
The vacation comes as something of a surprise given the amount of time Biden has spent waylaid with the coronavirus over the past month, as well as his regular trips to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware—one of which he took last weekend.
As of June, Biden already was on pace to break the record for most vacation time of any president, despite the growing number of serious crises facing the country—many of which were self-inflicted by the Biden administration.
It is unclear, however, whether Biden’s presence in the Oval Office does more harm than good, with many now under the assumption that the mentally diminished leader is merely functioning as an empty-suited figurehead.
Biden was joined on Air Force One by his son, Hunter Biden, daughter-in-law Melissa Cohen and grandson Beau.
Their presence also seemed a surprise following recent rumors that Cohen might be seeking a divorce amid a federal probe into Hunter Biden’s financial activities. The couple reportedly has been largely confined to their posh Malibu mansion.
Tension also may have risen following revelations from Hunter’s abandoned laptop that he had frequently patronized a Russian escort service while engaging in heavy drug use when he was supposed to be in rehab.
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.
Biden, accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, departed the White House by motorcade to Joint Base Andrews outside the capital, where Air Force One was on hand to take them to Joint Base Charleston. Biden was dropped off at a private home in a gated community alongside a golf course on the island.
While Biden is in South Carolina, the House is set to vote to approve a major spending bill, totaling $740 billion, which will dramatically increase the audit power of the IRS and is likely to exacerbate the already crushing inflation brought on by Biden’s earlier spending sprees.
The measure is also expected to drive up the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices with powerful pharmaceutical companies, freezing out generic alternatives and chilling research capabilities.
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. However he still was able to outpace his predecessor, Donald Trump, in terms of overall getaway days.
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 George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina flooding New Orleans in 2005 and Barack Obama’s Las Vegas fundraising junket in the immediate aftermath of Benghazi.
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.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press