Beginning in 1973, when he was a United States Senator from Delaware, Joe Biden had a ritual: nearly every evening he would hop a train back to Wilmington after his work day on Capitol Hill, spending most nights and weekends at the place he considered home, 100 miles from Washington.
Doing so earned him the nickname “Amtrak Joe,” and in 2011, the Wilmington depot was renamed the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station. In all, he took more than 8,000 of those roundtrips during his 36 years in the Senate and, though less frequently, his eight years as vice president, no small feat for a busy politician. Turns out old habits die hard.
Since taking office four months ago, the President has spent more weekends away from the White House than he has stayed there, almost three times as many. Counting this Memorial Day weekend, Biden has been in Wilmington nine weekends and passed five weekends at the presidential retreat, Camp David, in rural Maryland. The numbers far exceed any modern president’s weekends off-campus at this point in his tenure. “He thinks of (the White House) more like a Monday-through-Friday kind of place,” said one of several people familiar with Biden’s thinking who spoke to CNN for this story and were granted anonymity in order to preserve relationships. This person said the people’s house was akin to presidential corporate housing. “Really, really high-end corporate housing.”
“Joe Biden has always been the guy who goes home to Delaware,” said another person who has worked with the President. “The White House isn’t going to change that.”