White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday was forced to defend President Biden’s Tuesday evening trip to Delaware on Air Force One — on the taxpayers’ dime — to vote in the state’s Democratic primary.

Critics have called it wasteful, noting Biden could have voted early when he was in the state last weekend.

Jean-Pierre told reporters during a gaggle en route to the Detroit Auto Show that Biden wanted to show “the importance” of voting and to “say hello to poll workers” who are “under attack.”

The president employed two motorcades and Air Force One, which costs about $177,000 per hour to operate, for his surprise trip to participate in non-competitive primary elections.

He also stopped by his Wilmington, Del., home for about eight minutes before returning to DC.

The Bidens arrive in Delware.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, after voting in the Delaware primary.

Biden could have voted early when he was staying at his Wilmington house on Friday and Saturday — or he could have voted by mail.

“As you know, the president has a very heavy schedule. He’s the president of the United States. It worked out best for him to vote yesterday, to vote on Tuesday,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Jean-Pierre didn’t say what Biden was doing during apparent down time in Delaware over the weekend.

Joe Biden in Delaware
Biden speaks to reporters after voting in the Delaware primary election at Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

Biden arrived at his Wilmington home at 3:40 p.m. Friday — when early voting was available until 7 p.m. — and on Saturday emerged from his house only to attend church, instead of voting during the 7 a.m.-7 p.m. early voting window that day.

Jean-Pierre insisted that Biden’s Tuesday night trip was necessary — despite the fact that no high-profile statewide contests were on the ballot.

“He thought it was important to exercise his constitutional right to vote, as I just mentioned, and set an example by showing the importance of voting. He also had the opportunity to say hello to poll workers and thank them for their work and we know how under attack poll workers have been these past several years,” Jean-Pierre said, without offering any examples of poll workers facing attacks.

Air Force One
Biden’s Air Force One plane, pictured in June. Biden is taking heat for traveling to Delaware to vote in person in a Democratic primary.
Europa Press via Getty Images

“Many presidents — it’s not, it’s not unusual to head home to vote in their local elections, and he thought it was important to do so yesterday,” she added.

A reporter noted, however, that there was no advance notice to reporters that Biden would be voting, and so it got little publicity.

The reporter asked, “Do you think that would have been better than to make it more of like a public event for him to sort of like tout it a little bit more?”

“The president has been voting in Delaware for decades,” Jean-Pierre said. “And this is something that was important to do. He wasn’t going to miss that opportunity to vote yesterday and he did that. It’s not unusual for him. He’s done that for again for many decades. And so, you know, he had an opportunity to thank the poll workers. He had an opportunity — I think by the president going to vote, that sends a very strong message to the American public.”

Biden didn’t answer ABC reporter Karen Travers’ question Tuesday night about why he didn’t choose to vote absentee — simply smiling and turning to board Air Force One for his return flight.

Republicans slammed Biden for making the trip to Delaware.

“Biden flew Air Force One to Delaware to vote in person yesterday for a state auditor race,” tweeted Newsmax host Sean Spicer, a former White House press secretary to President Donald Trump. “He could have voted in person when he was there on Saturday but didn’t. He could have gotten an absentee ballot but didn’t. He chose to spend thousands of tax dollars instead this way.”


Source link


Comments are closed.