White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday defended President Biden taking a whirlwind trip to Delaware to vote in-person in the state’s primary.
“The president has a very heavy schedule. He’s the president of the United States. It worked out best for him to vote yesterday, to vote on Tuesday,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Detroit. “He thought it was important to exercise his constitutional right to vote, as I just mentioned, and set an example by showing the importance of voting.”
“He also had the opportunity to say hello to poll workers and thank them for their work, and we know how under attack poll workers have been these past several years,” Jean-Pierre added.
Jean-Pierre noted that past presidents have traveled to their home states to cast a ballot in an election, downplaying that there was anything unusual about Biden’s trip.
The president abruptly left the White House on Tuesday evening for a previously unannounced trip. The White House later revealed he was going to Wilmington to vote in the state’s primary elections, with state auditor being the main statewide race on the ballot. He returned to the White House a few hours later.
Some journalists questioned why Biden did not request an absentee ballot or vote early in-person when he was already in Delaware over the weekend. Tuesday’s trip drew criticism from conservatives in particular, who pointed out that the Air Force One trip, combined with the presidential motorcade and police escort, cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Biden did not respond to a question on Tuesday night about why he didn’t request an absentee ballot.
“I think by the president going to vote, that sends a very strong message to the American public,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.