Biden staffers say White House is ‘lonely’ as Memorial Day marks 14th weekend away from president

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Less than six months into a tenure stalled by the coronavirus pandemic, rising gun violence and a crisis on the southern border, President Joe Biden has already spent more weekends away from the White House than any of his modern predecessors at the same point in their term. .

Speak with CNN Under the condition of anonymity, a source familiar with the president’s thinking said Biden sees the White House “more like a Monday through Friday place.”

The building that was once home to nearly all of Biden’s predecessors, including his former boss President Barack Obama, now looks more like “real, really high-end corporate housing” to its current resident.

The building that was once home to nearly all of Biden's predecessors, including his former boss President Barack Obama, now looks more like

The building that was once home to nearly all of Biden’s predecessors, including his former boss President Barack Obama, now looks more like “real, really high-end corporate housing” to its current resident.

Of the 19 weekends he has been president, Biden has spent only five in the White House.

Members of his staff have told CNN that Biden would leave the residence even on short notice when his schedule dictated otherwise — for a weekly breather — despite the nearly 55,000 square feet of space with amenities, including a bowling alley, movie theater and tennis pavilion. .

“Even if it’s Tuesday and the schedule says he’ll be at the White House that weekend — or it doesn’t say he’s going anywhere — in the back of my mind, I know he won’t be at the White House,” one said. member of Biden’s entourage to CNN.

Even during his decades-long career as a senator, Biden was known for fleeing Washington DC to spend most nights and weekends at home in Delaware.

Biden has been away from the White House for 14 of the last 19 weekends, including Memorial Day weekend

Biden has been away from the White House for 14 of the last 19 weekends, including Memorial Day weekend

He was nicknamed ‘Amtrak Joe’ for the effort and was honored by his home Wilmington station when they opened the depot the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Renamed Railroad Station.

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates defended Biden’s choice to continue some form of his tradition as president.

“Presidents of the United States are constantly at work, regardless of their location—whether on a state visit abroad or just 100 miles from the White House on a short trip to Wilmington, DE. And as all Americans agree, it’s important for leaders to avoid settling in Washington DC,” he said in a statement to CNN.

Biden previously expressed that he felt “extremely self-conscious” about the wait, as he would now be by dozens of White House employees, at a CNN town hall in February.

He had likened it to a “gilded cage in terms of being able to walk outside and do things.”

However, some people in the country’s capital wish he felt differently.

Biden returned Monday, paying tribute to fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemeteryling

Biden returned Monday, paying tribute to fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemeteryling

“The staff work there because they want to serve the president and the first lady,” one who works at the residence told CNN. “I think it’s lonely for them sometimes. You miss taking care of the directors.’

Another White House source speculated that Biden might feel a little uncomfortable moving into his old boss’s house — compared to “moving in with your ex.”

It wasn’t a problem for Trump or Obama, who didn’t go there as a second lieutenant, but for someone like Biden who spent so much time in the White House over the years meeting his ‘boss’. would be weird to actually live in that person’s old apartment,” the source said.

Despite Biden’s frequent outings, he’s certainly not the first president to look for a breather. Former presidents, including Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, were known to spend time in family homes during their tenures.

Biden appears to have spent less time on the golf course than his predecessor.  He is pictured during a round at Wilmington Country Club on April 17

Biden appears to have spent less time on the golf course than his predecessor. He is pictured during a round at Wilmington Country Club on April 17

More recently, former President Donald Trump has been heavily criticized for how much of his last four years he spent on his many golf courses.

A website called ‘Trump Golf Count‘ who claims to maintain a record of ‘daytime visits to golf clubs since inauguration’ estimates he had 298 of those visits from 2017 to 2020.

Those visits cost taxpayers nearly $150 million, according to the site.

Biden appears to have spent less time on the golf course than his predecessor. His first outing was in mid-April, when Trump had already amassed 19 separate visits.

Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden celebrated Memorial Day in their home state last weekend where he delivered an emotional speech in New Castle, Delaware, calling on his late son and military veteran Beau Biden.

He also traveled to Virginia with Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday to commemorate the fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

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