What a Delaware beach vacation looks like for President Biden
SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:
Joe and Jill Biden are trading 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for their vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., this week. They're doing what many families do on vacation - see a movie, take walks on the beach - but trying to blend in as president is tough. NPR's Barbara Sprunt has more.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Mr. President.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Mr. President.
BARBARA SPRUNT, BYLINE: When you're the president, even a simple bike ride is a production. You're trailed by Secret Service, passerbys (ph) gather to cheer you on and the press pool that follows you in D.C. is still close by.
TEVI TROY: A vacation for a president is not really a vacation. You're not ever fully off.
SPRUNT: That's Tevi Troy, a former White House aide and a presidential historian.
TROY: You have to bring national security aides. You have to bring a communications apparatus. You obviously have to bring the football, which is the nuclear codes. So a presidential vacation is much more complicated than just loading up the minivan with peanut butter sandwiches and some suitcases.
SPRUNT: Presidential vacations can be interrupted by breaking news or legislation that needs to be signed. And even if their responsibilities don't end, presidents get criticized for the appearance of taking a break. That's true for Biden, too, who has traveled to his homes in Delaware numerous times throughout his presidency. Biden has long been a regular at Rehoboth, and beachgoers don't seem that starstruck.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: He's a regular human, just like you and I, so I don't feel any type of way (laughter).
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: If we saw him, we'd be like, oh, OK, you know, there he is.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Fine.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: I wouldn't even go near him.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: I'm indifferent to it.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: So, like, the first time, it's like, oh, OK, you know? Hey, that's cool. You know, it's the motorcade. And now it's kind of, like, we're over it.
SPRUNT: For some locals, like Bridget Mullins, the novelty of the president coming to town along with his motorcade and tendency to back up traffic has worn off.
BRIDGET MULLINS: And he went to the main church here, and that was exciting the first time, you know? But after that, it's a hassle.
SPRUNT: But kids - kids are a different story.
ARIAH: I love the fact that, you know, we're in the same town.
SPRUNT: That's 11-year-old Ariah, who has a big smile with remnants of an ice cream cone quickly melting on this hot day.
ARIAH: I want to go live with him. He's rich, and he could buy me an iPad. He can make sure I got the best birthdays, the best Christmases.
SPRUNT: Further down the beach are high schoolers Gabriella Hildreth and Ariana Stanton, who are surprised to hear the news.
GABRIELLA HILDRETH: Is he here? I'd...
ARIANA STANTON: I literally told her earlier. I was like, Biden comes here all the time.
SPRUNT: They quickly launch into a debate about what to do if they saw the president.
GABRIELLA: Can I have a picture (laughter)?
ARIANA: I don't know. Shake his hand, I don't know.
GABRIELLA: Yes, I would. I would want to. Then you could be like...
ARIANA: I would not.
GABRIELLA: ...I shook President Biden's hand.
ARIANA: I wouldn't say anything. I would leave him alone. I feel like he gets it all the time, though, so I would just...
GABRIELLA: You'd feel like you're overstepping your boundary...
GABRIELLA: ...Maybe. Like, just let him be.
SPRUNT: Nineteen-year-old Lily Sakellariou is also thinking about a potential interaction with Biden. She's working this summer at the ice cream store, a popular spot that has a picture of Biden on display behind the waffle-cone maker from when he visited years ago.
LILY SAKELLARIOU: He has almond joy as the flavor, and we just put that online this morning.
SPRUNT: She wonders, will the almond joy bat signal work?
SAKELLARIOU: Well, I'm sure he would be super nice. (Impersonating Joe Biden) Appreciate it, kid. Oh.
SPRUNT: So you'd be nervous?
SAKELLARIOU: Yeah, but I'm up for it. I would want him to, I don't know, say it's the best ice cream cone he's ever had - compliment my scooping, maybe.
SPRUNT: Daniel Fry, who's visiting Rehoboth for a family reunion, says he'd also be excited to see Biden regardless of politics.
DANIEL FRY: I am probably as pro-Republican and pro-Trump as can be. I am not a fan of Joe Biden, but he's still our American president. And, you know, it's always been an honor and privilege to be in the presence of the president. So I think it's kind of a cool thing.
SPRUNT: Fry just missed seeing Biden in the park. But he plans to come back tomorrow in the hopes of catching a glimpse. Barbara Sprunt, NPR News, Rehoboth Beach.
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