With Thanksgiving just 10 days away, all indications are that Nantucket will be the holiday destination for President Joe Biden.
Multiple island sources who have been contacted by U.S. government officials regarding the planning and logistics effort for Biden’s trip told the Current in recent days that preparations are underway for a Presidential visit barring any last minute changes or unforeseen events.
Back in early October, we reported that island lodging establishments had begun receiving bookings for Secret Service agents as well as other government security and logistics personnel. The Current has received additional information regarding the preparations for Biden’s visit, one that will be far more complex and logistically challenging than those of his prior Thanksgiving trips to the island as a Senator, Vice President, and Presidential candidate. The scale of the security apparatus necessary to ensure Biden’s safety will be on another level compared to those previous visits, and it’s not yet clear where Biden will be staying, or for how long.
A meeting between public safety officials and airport officials was held on Monday at the Public Safety Building to discuss topics related to Biden’s arrival and visit, a source told the Current.
The White House did not return a message seeking comment.
The Biden family’s annual pilgrimage to Nantucket began 46 years ago after his then-Chief of Staff Wes Barthelmes recommended the island to Biden.
“He suggested the island of Nantucket, which was an hour by ferry south of Cape Cod,” Biden wrote in his 2017 memoir. “Neither Jill nor I had ever been there, but we decided to go ahead and make an adventure of it. We filled my Jeep Wagoneer with fifty-seven-cents-a-gallon gas and piled the boys and the dog into the backseat for what was likely to be a six-hour ride to the ferry in Hyannis, Massachusetts.”
Even as Vice President, Biden made himself at home on the island and was largely accessible to the community, posing for hundreds of pictures during his strolls through the downtown area, ordering Thanksgiving dinner from Bill and Kim Puder at Faregrounds restaurant, and taking part in the Atheneum’s Turkey Plunge at Children’s Beach.
During Biden’s time as Vice President, the family stayed at several different properties around the island for its Thanksgiving visits, including Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein’s estate on Abrams Point, and former UK Ambassador Louis Susman’s home off Washing Pond Road.
Biden’s last visit to Nantucket was in 2019 when he was a Presidential candidate, so there was not a huge security detail, no Air Force Two landing, and little fanfare at the time. The Bidens appeared that year at a fundraiser hosted by Elizabeth Bagley, the former ambassador to Portugal under President Bill Clinton and a major Democratic party supporter. Biden did not visit the island in 2020 following his victory in the Presidential election last November.