News ID: 110698
Publish Date : 28 December 2022 - 21:45

Amid Blizzard Chaos in U.S., Biden Goes to Sunny Islands for Vacation

NEW YORK -- President Joe Biden is enjoying his tropical vacation in St Croix while thousands of Americans continue to suffer from travel chaos and the deadly blizzard that killed at least 65 people.
He will be sunning himself in the 84-degree Caribbean heat at a private home with beach access in the Virgin Islands. He’s staying as a rent-free guest at the home of Bill and Connie Neville, who are bigtime Democratic donors.
He is joined by first lady Jill, grandkids Natalie and Hunter Jr., and daughter Ashley and her husband Howard for a family vacation. Ashley and Howard even brought their dog for the week-long getaway.
The president arrived Tuesday evening after a smooth, trouble-free flight on Air Force One while most of the country experiences travel chaos and widespread power outages after a massive cyclone bomb storm.
The first family will celebrate New Year’s Eve on the island, returning to Washington D.C. on January 2d.
The Bidens are not paying to stay at the Neville home. A luxury family vacation rental on St. Croix can run up to $5,000 a night, according to vacation websites.
The first family is staying on Solitude Bay, a private community with its own beach. Houses there can sell for around $3 million, according to property websites.
The Bidens will enjoy a gorgeous escape from the cold - the average temperature on St. Croix is in the 80s with sunny skies forecasted for the next week.
Meanwhile, frigid temperatures have caused deaths across the Midwest and East Coast, with Buffalo, in Western New York, worst affected with at least 32 deaths.
Erie County has been buried under more than four feet of snow, with temperatures continuing to be below freezing in the coming days.
Southwest Airlines has also left tens of thousands of travelers stranded at airports throughout the country because of the killer storm.
They canceled more than 2,600 of its flights on Tuesday, with more expected to be called off throughout the week.
The airline has already called off more than 2,400 flights on Wednesday, 1,500 on Thursday and 3,000 flights on Monday.
The monster storm killed dozens of Americans over Christmas, with Erie County officials describing ‘hospitals full of bodies’ because of the storm.
Many in Buffalo were found dead in cars, homes and snowbanks, while others died while desperately shoveling snow.
Emergency services could not respond in time to several medical crises, with several people losing their lives as a result.
The National Weather Service said the snow total at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport stood at 49.2 inches at 10 am Monday.
More than 2,900 domestic and international U.S. flights were canceled on Tuesday as of about noon Eastern time.
The winter blast stranded some people in cars for days, shuttered the

city´s airport and left some residents shivering without heat.
More than 4,000 homes and businesses were still without power late Tuesday morning.
Biden offered federal assistance Monday to New York, allowing for reimbursement of some storm-relief efforts before jetting off on his holiday. He also spoke with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and received a briefing from federal officials on the storm.
The president will avoid another crisis on the home front while he and the family are lounging in the sun - the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump-era Title 42 border restriction will remain in effect until at least February.
By a 5-4 vote, the nation’s highest court decided to keep the immigration policy in effect but will decide in 2023 if the consortium of 19 attorney generals from GOP-led states, including Texas and Arizona, should be allowed to intervene in defense of the policy as ruled by the lower courts.
The policy was due to expire hours after the Bidens took off - at December 27 at midnight. A fresh onslaught of border crossers were expected to make their break for the U.S.-Mexico border without Title 42.
Biden was asked to respond to the decision as he left the White House Tuesday evening.
“The court is not going to decide until June apparently, and in the meantime we have to enforce it— but I think it’s overdue,” he said of the policy’s end.
But he did not address questions about whether he would discuss running in 2024 while in St. Croix.
He has previously said he and his family would have conversations about a second term in the White House when they were together over the holiday season.
The first couple spent a quiet Christmas at the White House, where they called a selection of U.S. service members around the world to thank them for their service.
The family had a private mass at the White House and a traditional Italian dinner.
The Bidens have a long family tradition of spending time on the sunny island in the Caribbean Sea, visiting there nearly every year since 2008.
Often, they greet the first sunrise of the new year at Point Udall, the eastern-most point under the American flag.
The Bidens are returning to the island after skipping trips there the past few years due to the Covid pandemic.
During his time as vice president, Biden vacationed on St Croix in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
He will be the first president to visit the island since former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Barack Obama visited it in 2007 when he was a presidential candidate.
The last sitting president to visit St Croix was Harry Truman in February 1948.