Home USA News In their Nantucket retreat, the Biden family is vying for a second...

In their Nantucket retreat, the Biden family is vying for a second term

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President Joe Biden and his family are tackling a big question during their Thanksgiving vacation in the cool quiet of Nantucket: whether he will run for a second term in 2024.

The final decision will not be made on the Massachusetts island, where the Bidens live in a home owned by Carlyle Group co-founder and Bloomberg contributor David Rubenstein, enjoying walks on the beach, local restaurants and shopping. But the president and his closest relatives will discuss the possibility of re-election there and during the Christmas holidays, current and former aides say.

The president and first lady Jill Biden arrived on Tuesday in Nantucket, where they have regularly spent Thanksgiving since before Biden was vice president. Several close family members accompanied them, including Biden’s daughter Ashley and his son Hunter, who is expected to be the target of a House Republican investigation in the next two years.

Biden has the wind at his back after his Democratic Party enjoyed a historically successful midterm election. His aides largely expect him to run again, and his team is moving forward as if the final announcement is a formality. But the president said his family will have a big role in the decision, which is not expected until next year.

“When his heart is in it, they are there for him. It’s very unlikely that they won’t support him,” said Michael LaRosa, a former aide to Jill Biden. “He’s running. And I don’t know who else, besides him, should run for office. He has proven himself not only as an effective campaigner, but also as an effective leader.”

“Family Decision”

Biden played down the stakes of the trip, ignoring pointed questions about 2024 on Friday and when asked again Saturday how the debate was going.

“We don’t have them. We’re celebrating,” he told reporters as he, Jill Biden and family shopped on Nantucket’s Main Street.

Despite this, Biden has repeatedly stated that he intends to run, citing only his family or unexpected developments, such as a health crisis, as deterrents. The vacation gives him a chance to weigh the decision outside of Washington.

“I intend to run again. But I’m a big admirer of fate. And it’s ultimately a family decision,” Biden said this month, adding that a decision could be made “early next year.”

The Biden family is a fixture on Nantucket. The Democratic area is leaning, as is New England, where the party won midterm elections for the U.S. House and Senate. But there are pockets of the Republican Party on the island, with Republican Senate candidates Herschel Walker, J.D. Vance and Mehmet Oz raising money there.

But the small number of protesters and Trump supporters who often harass Biden on his trips around the country are absent from Nantucket. Cheers and cheers met his every step; people lined up at restaurants to dine near him and huddled over their phones to compare photos after he passed. A local drugstore sells Joe Biden figurines.

Jill Biden, while shopping on Friday morning, drew a crowd of onlookers at every store she entered. “We love you!” – shouted one woman.

After dinner, as the president and first lady walked a few blocks around town and posed for a photo with one of the store owners, passers-by yelled, “We love you, Mr. President!” and “No red tide, no red tide” — a reference to Republicans’ ridiculous expectations for broad midterm gains.

But even among friendly audiences, Biden’s age is a problem. On November 20, the president turned 80, making him the first octogenarian to occupy the White House. A fan yelled “Happy Birthday” to him as he shopped.

He will turn 82 in the month before the 2024 election, and 86 at the end of his second term.

Polls show many Democrats want their party to embrace younger leaders.

“His age is a little bit of a concern,” Wendy Beardsley, 67, who is otherwise a Biden supporter, said Friday in Nantucket as Jill Biden shopped down the street. She noted the president’s occasional stumbles in public statements.

“Sometimes I don’t watch it because it makes me nervous that it’s going to screw up,” she said.

But she said the president has accomplished a lot, and she’s generally pleased with him compared to the alternatives — especially former President Donald Trump, who has already announced his third bid for the White House. She said she would “definitely” support Biden over Trump.

The White House declined to comment for this story. One aide said Biden was underrated in 2020 and that questions about his age were overblown then and now.

Ugly company

Jill Biden, his children and grandchildren are important conversations for Biden, who often talks about discussions with them before deciding on his 2020 candidacy.

“They started and said, ‘Pop, you’ve got to run,'” Biden recalled during a Nov. 1 campaign stop. “The reason I didn’t want to run: I knew how ugly it would be.”

The president said his grandson showed him a crude meme that cast Biden as a sexual predator — admitting it would have been ugly for the family regardless of whether he ran.

“Then I decided to run for office – when I was asked,” he recalled. “They knew what was coming; it was not a shock to them.’

Storm clouds again hung over the Biden family. House Republicans plan to launch a series of investigations next year, including Hunter Biden’s business dealings, which they believe could implicate the president.

Biden largely dismissed the threat. “The American people will see all of this for what it is. It’s just a comedy,” he said earlier this month.

However, these investigations are likely to bring cases and family matters, such as Hunter Biden’s battle with addiction, back into the public spotlight. Biden wants to be sure his family is ready for another election because the process will be more difficult than in 2020, one former aide said.

Aides say the first lady has more influence on Biden’s decision.

The president made it clear she’s on board, telling MSNBC last month that Jill Biden believes “we’re doing something very important, and I shouldn’t walk away from it.”

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