Bidens touch down in Virgin Islands as U.S recovers from snow

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Joe and Jill Biden arrived in the U.S. Virgins Islands on Tuesday evening to spend the New Year’s Eve in the sun as thousands of Americans remain stranded by canceled flights in the wake of winter weather.

The Bidens, accompanied by grandkids Natalie and Hunter Jr. and daughter Ashley, arrived to 76 degree weather on St. Croix while much of the United States remained under a winter storm warming.

Traveling on Air Force One presents no travel problems for the president – unlike unluckiy passengers on Southwest Airlines where nearly 87 percent of flights across the U.S are canceled.

Bidens touch down in Virgin Islands as U.S recovers from snow

President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and grandchildren Natalie Biden and Robert Hunter Biden disembark from Air Force One as they arrive for a New Year’s vacation, at Rohlsen Airport, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Biden's grandkids Natalie and Hunter Jr joined them for the trip

Biden’s grandkids Natalie and Hunter Jr joined them for the trip

Ashley Biden also joined her dad, President Joe Biden, on the trip to St. Croix

Ashley Biden also joined her dad, President Joe Biden, on the trip to St. Croix

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, with their grandchildren Natalie and Robert and escorted by Air Force Col. William Chris McDonald, right, and his wife Diana McDonald, left

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, with their grandchildren Natalie and Robert and escorted by Air Force Col. William Chris McDonald, right, and his wife Diana McDonald, left

President Joe Biden (R), first lady Jill Biden (2-L) and their grandchildren, Natalie (L) and Robert Biden (2-R), take a selfie before boarding Marine One

President Joe Biden (R), first lady Jill Biden (2-L) and their grandchildren, Natalie (L) and Robert Biden (2-R), take a selfie before boarding Marine One

First lady Jill Biden was the first off Air Force One followed by the president who was dressed in a suit coat with no tie. The first family will be on the island through New Year’s Eve. 

Meanwhile, at least 70 people are dead and tens of thousands have been stranded to spend the holidays in an airport as airlines cancel flights en masse.  

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Biden will avoid another crisis on the home front while they’re lounging in the sun –  the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump-era Title 42 border restriction will remain in effect until at least February. 

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. 

Biden did not address questions about whether he would discuss running in 2024 while in St. Croix. 

The Bidens will be on the beach while parts of the US are bracing for another 12 inches of snow. The winter weather follows an Arctic bomb cyclone storm that ravaged most the U.S. over the Christmas weekend. Buffalo, New York which is buried under 50 inches of powder, was declared a federal emergency and thousands of airline passengers remain stranded due to travel chaos.

The Bidens will ring in the New Year in St. Croix, located in the U.S. Virgin Islands where the average temperature for this time of year is 84F, before returning to Washington D.C. on January 2. 

Meanwhile, 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.

Also leaves as Supreme Court extends Title 42

Also leaves as Supreme Court extends Title 42 

Buffalo received 50 inches of snow and is under a federal emergency order

Buffalo received 50 inches of snow and is under a federal emergency order

The Supreme Court has set the Trump-era border order Title 42 to end at 11.59pm Tuesday night unless they issue another ruling. Pictured: migrants waiting to be processed

The Supreme Court has set the Trump-era border order Title 42 to end at 11.59pm Tuesday night unless they issue another ruling. Pictured: migrants waiting to be processed 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged the ruling on Tuesday evening saying, ‘We will, over course, comply with the order and prepare for the Court’s review.’

‘Today’s order gives Republicans in Congress plenty of time to move past political finger-pointing and join their Democratic colleagues in solving the challenge at our border by passing the comprehensive reform measures and delivering the additional funds for border security.’

Although the border policy remains in place, that’s not stopping asylum-seeking migrants from attempting to cross the southern border as dangerously cold temperatures impact most of the nation, including Texas communities along the southern border, where some newly arriving migrants have struggled to find shelter

El Paso is facing a humanitarian crisis, with many migrants sleeping on the city’s streets. 

Presidents can and do work from anywhere but hanging out in the sunshine while much of the country is covered in snow and migrants are storming the border makes for questionable optics.

Temperatures around the country are expected to rise in the coming days but there will be fallout from the storm.

In Buffalo, the dead were found in cars, homes and snowbanks. 

Biden offered the city federal assistance on Monday while New York Gov. Kathy Hochul toured Buffalo – her hometown – and called the blizzard ‘one for the ages.’ 

According to the governor, almost every fire truck in the city became stranded Saturday. Many were without power.

Even in an area known for snowfall, County Executive Mark Poloncarz called the blizzard ‘the worst storm probably in our lifetime.’

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Biden was briefed on the storm ahead of the holidays. 

The storm led to some 2,872 domestic and international U.S. flights being canceled Tuesday as of about 8am Eastern time, according to the tracking site FlightAware.

The Transportation Department is investigating the flight cancelations, including those by Southwest, which canceled the largest number of flights – more than 10K.

The Bidens won’t face travel difficulties, however, given they will be on Air Force One. 

The Bidens spent a quiet Christmas at the White House

The Bidens spent a quiet Christmas at the White House

President Joe Biden received a storm briefing on December 22

President Joe Biden received a storm briefing on December 22

The first couple spent a quiet Christmas at the White House, where they called a selection of US 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.

Biden’s brother James owns property on Water Island and Biden often spends a week there in January, when the cold weather settles in on the East Coast. 

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.

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