Ns News Online Desk: President Biden took the day off work Monday for some Columbus Day R&R in Delaware — along with a stop at a wedding nearby in Pennsylvania — despite multiple ongoing crises that are tanking his approval ratings and threatening his agenda.
Biden didn’t speak with reporters when he returned to the White House in the late afternoon, despite fresh fears about slowing jobs growth, an illegal immigration crisis on the southern border and a spending fight in Congress that could define his legacy.
Before returning to DC, Biden tacked onto his long weekend what the White House called “a small, family wedding” at the home of his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, just across the Delaware state line.
“[Biden’s] nephew, Cuffe Owens, is marrying Meghan O’Toole King,” the White House said. King is a former reality TV star who appeared on “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”The president’s approval rating slumped in polling results released last week, increasing Democratic worries about losing control of the House and Senate in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll found 52 percent disapproved of Biden’s performance and 45 percent approved. Quinnipiac University found 53 percent disapproval and just 40 percent approval.
Biden’s approval rating was pulled down by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and by the chaotic US pullout from Afghanistan at the end of August, which left behind hundreds of Americans and thousands of US-employed Afghans.Biden’s frequent trips home to Delaware have raised eyebrows, in part because the White House says it won’t release visitor logs for Biden’s Wilmington mansion or his Rehoboth Beach vacation home.
He’s spent at least part of 70 days at one of his Delaware homes since taking office — or about 26 percent of the days that he’s been president.
Biden’s activities at home are unknown. His German shepherd Major spends much of his time in Delaware after a series of attacks on Secret Service agents at the White House. As vice president, Biden also was reputed to skinny-dip while out of the public eye.Although former President Donald Trump frequently visited his Florida and New Jersey resorts on weekends, other presidents, such as Barack Obama, usually stayed at the executive mansion.
As Biden left the White House on Friday, he was asked if he’s concerned about potential corruption involving his son Hunter Biden’s art sales — after the novice artist sold five prints for $75,000 each ahead of a Los Angeles art show attended by one of his father’s ambassador nominees.
The president looked a reporter for The Post in the eyes and said, “You gotta be kidding me.” He had taken no questions during a pair of public remarks Friday even though White House press agents per-screened reporters allowed to attend.Very few people in the private sector get Columbus Day off. Federal offices are closed, but surveys indicate that it’s the least-celebrated federal holiday by employers.
As of 2017, just 14 percent of businesses closed their offices on Columbus Day, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Other less-celebrated holidays included President’s Day and Veterans Day, which had 34 percent and 19 percent of offices closed, respectively.
Biden issued a proclamation last week ahead of Columbus Day, which has been replaced or supplemented with “Indigenous Peoples Day” in some cities and states.
Biden described the day as a celebration of Italian Americans.“Today, millions of Italian Americans continue to enrich our country’s traditions and culture and make lasting contributions to our Nation,” a statement attributed to Biden said.
But Biden added, “we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past.”