Last weekend, amid the catastrophic reconquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban, it seemed President Joe Biden couldn’t be bothered to cut short his trip to Camp David in Maryland, save for a brief return to the White House for a perfunctory speech on Monday.
Biden eventually returned to Washington later in the week, but not without announcing plans to head home to Wilmington, Delaware for a relaxing weekend vacation. After pushing that trip back several times, however, the president was forced to cancel, according to Breitbart.
The most likely and obvious reason for the last-minute nix of plans is the decidedly bad optics of the president getting some R&R while chaos reigns in Afghanistan and American citizens remain trapped in Kabul by the Taliban — but there may be another reason that few have considered.
Biden’s trip canceled
Breitbart noted that after Biden returned to the White House on Tuesday, it was announced that he would travel to Delaware on Thursday. That plan was then pushed back to Friday, Breitbart said, and then again delayed until Saturday.
The scheduled visit home was eventually canceled altogether over the weekend, albeit at the very last moment, when the pool of reporters who travel with the president had already gathered at Joint Base Andrews to board a flight of their own to Wilmington.
One of the journalists in the traveling pool tweeted out Saturday morning that the trip had been suddenly canceled by the White House with no explanation for the abrupt change.
Travel pool had just arrived at @Andrews_JBA expecting an #Osprey flight to Delaware and overnight in Wilmington for @POTUS when the press office announced the trip is canceled today. No explanation has been provided. pic.twitter.com/mYhwbkzl22
— Todd J. Gillman (@toddgillman) August 21, 2021
Bad optics amid an international crisis
As noted, many have surmised that the cancelation came as the White House realized just how bad the optics of the trip would be for President Biden, as Afghanistan crumbled and thousands of U.S. citizens and NATO allies remained in grave danger in and around Kabul.
Such was the narrative pressed by the British media outlet the Daily Mail, which chided “Sleepy Joe” for his grossly inept and tone-deaf handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal thus far.
To be sure, there could be some element of truth there; the Daily Mail cited anonymous sources who said at least some members of Biden’s White House team had admitted the president messed up when it came to pulling American troops out of Afghanistan.
All of that said, there could be another, albeit more cynical and self-serving reason, for the canceled trip home: bad weather.
The weather forecast for the Wilmington area this weekend was full of heavy rain, high winds, and potential flooding, which isn’t exactly conducive to a relaxing weekend stay at the beach. Perhaps Biden wouldn’t have called his trip off if the weather had been better — but we may never know the truth.