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Republicans hit Biden over St. Croix trip during border crisis

Republicans are hitting President Biden for a family vacation in St. Croix amid a crisis at the border, arguing it shows how the White House has been absent on the issue.

The president is taking the annual trip to the Virgin Islands over the New Year’s holiday, which comes this year as a migrant caravan gains attention while heading to the United States and border crossings are increasing.

Presidents tend to face partisan criticism for their vacations. Former Presidents George W. Bush, Obama and Trump all took hits for time spent away from Washington.

The vacation-related attacks on Biden over the border have a couple of purposes.

Republicans clearly think the issue is a political winner for them in a presidential election year. They’re also seeking political leverage for when negotiations restart in January over a supplemental spending package meant to address Ukraine, Israel and the border.  

“Joe Biden’s vacationing in the Virgin Islands while the southern border is in crisis,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a release this week, while Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) hit Biden for being “on vacation AGAIN while our southern border is being invaded by illegal aliens.”

“Joe Biden is soaking up the sun in the Caribbean while an army of illegal aliens crash our southern border. Don’t be fooled, this is what the radical Left has always wanted,” said Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R).

President Joe Biden exits Air Force One upon arrival at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. Biden is spending the New Year in St. Croix with family. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

The White House declined to comment on the latest criticism, but a Biden ally bashed Republicans, noting Trump regularly played golf during his administration. Trump likely played 261 rounds of golf as president, according to a Washington Post estimate.

“The court jesters of the least productive Congress in modern history should probably keep their opinions about the most accomplished president in a generation to themselves — just like they did when their holy savior spent more time golfing than being president,” the source said.

Republicans have hit Biden before in a similar manner, arguing he was unengaged while in Rehoboth, Del., during the wildfires in Maui or how he never visited the train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio.

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The House Judiciary Committee Republicans have since coined him “beachfront Biden” and on Thursday shared an old photograph of Biden on a Rehoboth beach, arguing he “doesn’t care about the southern border.”

The border has been a political headache for Biden for months. Biden’s approval rating on immigration dropped 8 points in December, with just 38 percent of voters saying they approve of his handling of immigration, compared to 46 percent in November, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll.

Trump’s campaign dropped an ad Thursday highlighting the border and touting Trump’s promises to secure it.

Top administration officials have appeared focused on the issue.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Wednesday in Mexico City to discuss the border. The White House then issued a joint communiqué with Mexico, though the document raised eyebrows when the phrase “democratic decline” as a root cause of migration was later deleted from the language.

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