President Biden left the drizzly skies of Washington behind on Wednesday and flew to tropical St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he and Jill Biden, the first lady, intend to ring in the new year.
The Bidens, along with their 19-year-old granddaughter, Natalie, stepped off Air Force One and headed to a waiting S.U.V. to start their weeklong vacation. The temperature hovered around 84 degrees.
The first family is staying at Two Palms Villa, a beachfront home owned by friends and Democratic donors, Bill and Connie Neville. The Bidens have stayed there in the past as guests, but the White House declined to say whether they will pay their own way this time.
The listing for the three-bedroom home name-drops the president, saying the villa “has a history of hosting esteemed guests, including the President of the United States.” It rents for about $700 per night, and has an infinity pool, private beach access and unobstructed views of Buck Island Reef National Monument.
Bill Neville is a tech executive and Connie Neville is a self-employed designer. In 2022, the couple were among 300 guests invited to a state dinner at the White House for President Emmanuel Macron of France.
While the surroundings are lush, work has a way of intruding on even the most secluded getaways — especially if you’re the president.
The trip comes as Mr. Biden faces pressure to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from spiraling into a wider regional conflict and as he gears up for the 2024 presidential campaign. When he arrived in St. Croix on Wednesday, Mr. Biden ignored questions from reporters about the surge of migrants at the southern border.
The White House declined to discuss the president’s expected meeting schedule while in St. Croix. Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, is traveling with the first family, along with a handful of other White House staff.
The visit to St. Croix is Mr. Biden’s second as president, though he and his family have traveled there more than a dozen times over the years. They also stayed at the Neville home last year.
The White House did not say how many family members would join them on the vacation other than Natalie, the daughter of their late son, Beau. The family spent Christmas at Camp David.
The Bidens are set to return to Washington on Jan. 2.