But in his new job, Mr. Biden brought with him a dizzying array of security personnel, media representatives and White House officials, not to mention a parade of family members: his children, Ashley and Hunter; Hunter’s wife Melissa; grandchildren Naomi, Finnegan, Maisie, Natalie, Hunter Biden II and Bo; and Naomi’s fiancé Peter Neal.
“There’s a bit of excitement,” said Noah Karberg, assistant manager at Nantucket Memorial Airport. He noted that the island hosted former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Mike Pence. However, he asked his staff to stay a little later than usual for Air Force One’s arrival on Tuesday night.
“We have to fly a really big plane,” he said.
Rep. William Keating, a Massachusetts Democrat, said his phone line was jammed with calls from residents about the additional security presence on the island.
“These are people who are used to famous people coming and going,” said Mr. Keating, representing Nantucket as well as Martha’s Vineyard, where Obama owns a home. “But I guess it’s just the surroundings and everything that the president has in mind.”
The Biden took hiatus from Thanksgiving in Nantucket in 2015, just six months after Bo died of brain cancer at the age of 46. Instead, they traveled to Rome that same year. The family has since returned to the island from time to time, but did not spend Thanksgiving on the island in 2019 due to travel commitments associated with Mr Biden’s presidential campaign. They stayed in Rehoboth, Delaware, last year over fears of a pandemic.
“People missed him, but mostly it was sympathy,” said Mr Fritsch.
The only thing the president cannot avoid during his vacation is a reminder of labor shortages hitting employers across the country, including the local Faregrounds Restaurant & Pudleys Pub, where visitors are greeted with a sign warning of possible delays.