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Biden begins week-long Caribbean vacation to ring in the new year

President Biden left Washington’s rainy skies behind Wednesday and flew to tropical St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he and Jill Biden, the first lady, plan to celebrate the new Year.

The Bidens, accompanied by their 19-year-old granddaughter, Natalie, stepped off Air Force One and headed to a waiting SUV to begin their weeklong vacation. The temperature hovered around 84 degrees.

The first family is staying at Two Palms Villa, a beachfront home owned by Democratic friends and donors Bill and Connie Neville. The Bidens have stayed there in the past as guests, but the White House declined to say whether they would pay for their own trip this time.

The listing for the three-bedroom home drops the president, saying the villa “has a history of hosting esteemed guests, including the President of the United States.” It rents for around $700 per night and has an infinity pool, access to a private beach, and stunning views of Buck Island Reef National Monument.

Bill Neville is a technology executive and Connie Neville is an independent designer. In 2022, the couple were among 300 guests invited to a state dinner at the White House for French President Emmanuel Macron.

Even if the surroundings are lush, work tends to intrude into even the most secluded getaways, especially if you’re president.

The trip comes as Mr. Biden faces pressure to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas from escalating into a broader regional conflict and as he prepares for the 2024 presidential campaign. Cross on Wednesday, Mr. Biden ignored reporters’ questions about the influx of migrants at the southern border.

The White House declined to discuss the planned schedule of the president’s meetings on St. Croix. Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, is traveling with the first family, along with a handful of other White House staff.

The visit to St. Croix is ​​Mr. Biden’s second as president, although he and his family have been there more than a dozen times over the years. They also stayed at Neville’s house last year.

The White House did not say how many family members would join them for the holiday, except for Natalie, the daughter of their late son, Beau. The family spent Christmas at Camp David.

The Bidens are expected to return to Washington on January 2.

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