Biden heads to Delaware, Russian troops head toward Kyiv

Biden heads to Delaware, Russian troops head toward Kyiv

President Biden on Friday afternoon scrapped plans to stay at the White House and prepared to depart for his home in Delaware for the weekend.

He changed his plans as chaos reigned in Ukraine with Russian troops battling to take control of the country’s capital, Kyiv.

The White House released a daily schedule confirming that Mr. Biden will travel to Wilmington in the evening. He had no public events scheduled for Saturday or Sunday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden was traveling to Delaware to attend a family member’s memorial service. The president will also have a meeting with his national security team in Wilmington on Saturday, she said.

“Every president can work from everywhere they are because that is how presidencies are equipped,” Ms. Psaki said. 

Mr. Biden originally planned to head to Delaware for the weekend but canceled the plans after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday.

The trip home was added back to his schedule later Friday. He did not address the public on the status of the war in Ukraine but made a public appearance to announce his pick of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court.

He also spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday.

Last weekend, Mr. Biden had planned to travel to Delaware for the Presidents Day weekend. He scrapped those plans Sunday afternoon and spent the weekend at the White House after meeting with his national security team about Ukraine.

Since taking office last year, Mr. Biden has made 44 trips to Delaware, totaling 143 days. His days in Delaware have been split between his home in Wilmington and his beach house in Rehoboth Beach.

That’s more time away from the White House than any of his three most recent predecessors.

Mr. Biden had been criticized during the Afghanistan crisis last summer for traveling to Wilmington. In September, he was slammed by Republicans for spending Labor Day weekend in Delaware while Americans remained stranded in Afghanistan amid the U.S. withdrawal from the country.

The White House defended Mr. Biden’s visits home during the Afghanistan crisis, insisting he was still on the job.

“Presidents of the United States are constantly on the job, regardless of their location; whether they’re on a state visit overseas or just 100 miles from the White House for a short trip to Wilmington,” the White House said at the time.

“Wherever he is, the president spends every day working to defeat the pandemic, to ensure our economy delivers for the middle class — not just those at the top — and to protect our national security,” the White House said.