Biden escapes his White House 'gilded cage' at a faster pace than Trump - CNN
Oct 23, 2021 3 mins, 0 secs
A CNN analysis of Biden's public schedule indicates the President has spent a significant amount of time away from the White House, particularly on weekends, since his January inauguration.

That includes partial days, like Friday -- when he spent the day at the White House and departed in the evening.

Sixty-nine of those 108 days away from Washington were spent at his home in Wilmington, spread over 23 visits; seven days at his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, beach house over two visits; and 32 days at Camp David over 10 visits.

Typically, his chopper commute from the White House to his Wilmington home takes less than an hour, and a White House official noted that many of the partial days included Biden departing the White House at the conclusion of a normal workday on a Friday or returning to Washington before the start of a workday on a Monday.

That puts Biden ahead of the pace set by former President Donald Trump, who had spent less time at his Florida and New Jersey getaways at the same point in his presidency than Biden has spent in Delaware.

Comparing Biden and his predecessors

While most presidents have prioritized taking time away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is the most time a president has spent away from the White House on personal travel at this point in the presidency in recent history.

By comparison, Trump had spent all or part of 61 days at either his Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster properties in Florida and New Jersey, respectively, during the same period of time, plus all or part of nine days over four visits to Camp David.

Bush, per Knoller's records, had taken seven trips to Crawford, Texas, spending 27 full or partial days at his family's Prairie Chapel Ranch in the first months of his presidency, and 19 visits to Camp David over 57 full or partial days, for a total of 84 full or partial days in Texas or at Camp David.

Other presidents have also made it a point to escape the confines of the White House: George H.

And that's the case for many people who have the luxury of working remotely."

Both at or away from the West Wing, Biden, a White House official told CNN, is "constantly strategizing with staff, being briefed on the economy and national security, speaking with lawmakers to advance his legislative agenda, and more." Modern technology, the official added, makes it "easier than ever" for a president to do the job fully from anywhere, with many staffers working remotely at the start of the administration.

He's also spent some time in the area on more mundane tasks, like seeing a doctor for a follow-up visit after a foot injury.

Biden has received virtual briefings from his team while away from the White House, per his public schedule, and always travels with senior staff for both domestic policy and national security, White House Communications Agency military personnel, and other aides, the White House official said.

Biden, the official added, is "in frequent touch with a wide spectrum of other staff to continue making progress on all the issues he works on during the week."

The cost of escape

No matter how near or far, there are always taxpayer resources incurred when a president travels.

"There is a significant level of taxpayer expense any time the president departs the White House grounds, whether that's just for a local stop in Washington, DC, or an overnight in Delaware," said Jonathan Wackrow, a former US Secret Service agent and CNN law enforcement analyst.

Those expenses include travel and lodging for Secret Service as agents, officers, and technical professionals descend to the President's destination.


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