Republicans are criticizing President Biden’s vacation in St. Croix over the New Year’s holiday, arguing it demonstrates his lack of focus on the ongoing border crisis. This criticism comes as a migrant caravan heads towards the U.S. and border crossings continue to rise.
While presidents traditionally face bipartisan criticism for their vacations, Republicans see Biden’s St. Croix trip as an opportunity to gain political advantage in the upcoming election year. They believe the border issue is a winning one for them and are using it as leverage in negotiations over a supplemental spending package.
Some Republicans, like Reps. Jim Jordan and Tom Tiffany, have accused Biden of being “on vacation while our southern border is being invaded.” Others, like Rep. Andy Biggs, have claimed that Biden’s trip is indicative of the “radical Left’s” agenda.
The White House has declined to comment on the criticism, but a Biden ally has pointed to Trump’s frequent golfing trips as evidence of hypocrisy from Republicans.
This isn’t the first time Republicans have criticized Biden for being away from Washington during a crisis. They’ve previously attacked him for being in Rehoboth, Delaware, during the wildfires in Maui and for not visiting the train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio.
The border has been a major political challenge for Biden, with his approval rating on immigration dropping significantly in recent months. Top administration officials have met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to discuss the issue, but Republicans have criticized these efforts, claiming they are not serious about solving the problem.
Criticism of presidents taking vacations during crises is nothing new. Trump faced backlash for his response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Obama for vacationing during the Louisiana floods, and Bush for his photo op after Hurricane Katrina.
While some argue that the border crisis would be a challenge for any president, others believe that Republicans are not interested in finding a solution because the current situation benefits them politically.
Ultimately, whether or not Biden’s St. Croix trip will have any lasting political impact remains to be seen. However, it is clear that Republicans are using the issue to their advantage in the lead-up to the 2024 election.