In Nantucket, Biden stores, attending the lighting of the Christmas tree

In Nantucket, Biden stores, attending the lighting of the Christmas tree

Nantucket, Mass. President Joe Biden appeared loosely on Friday in Nantucket.

Biden spent more than an hour wandering the cobblestone streets of downtown Nantucket, appearing unannounced at quaint mom-and-pop stores, seemingly making purchases and posing for photos with amazed business owners.

He was accompanied by some of his grandchildren. Biden and his entire family are spending their Thanksgiving vacation on Massachusetts Island, renting a sprawling compound to his friend and billionaire philanthropist David Rubinstein.

“Hey Joe,” some people shouted, “We love you, Joe,” as Biden was going through a cold, rainy day. A man is heard telling the 79-year-old president that he looks younger.

It’s those kinds of interactions with ordinary people that Biden, a politician who has slapped back for nearly five decades, but hasn’t done much because of COVID-19, enjoys.

Biden set out on the rally after speaking to reporters about a new type of COVID-19 circulating in South Africa, and about his decision on Friday for the United States to join other countries in restricting travel from South Africa, starting Monday.

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The president opened Friday by going to a restaurant for lunch with his wife Jill and his children Hunter and Ashley and their grandchildren. It’s a family tradition after Thanksgiving. Then they browsed in a nearby library before Biden went for a walk.

Stop at a leather goods store and several clothing, gift, and home goods stores before a family reunion to share one of their traditions: attending the annual Nantucket Christmas Tree Lighting Party.

Biden’s stroll downtown was reminiscent of a period during Barack Obama’s presidency when he rebelled against the frontiers that came with the occupation of the Oval Office. Modern presidents do not generally travel on foot.

“The bear is on the loose!” Obama announced one day in 2014 after he left the White House on foot, rather than in a motorcade, and drove to the Department of the Interior, to the astonishment of ordinary people on the streets of downtown Washington.

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Biden did not make a similar announcement.

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