Joe and Jill Biden arrived on Nantucket on Tuesday for Thanksgiving after the White House defended their stay at billionaire David Rubenstein’s private compound on the posh island.
The Bidens’ children Hunter and Ashley were with them as were Hunter’s wife Melissa and a gaggle of grandkids: Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, Hunter, and Beau Biden; and, Peter Neal, Naomi’s fiancé.
The Bidens landed after taking part in a service project at DC Central Kitchen with Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the first couple’s stay on the island off the coast of Massachusetts, saying food prices weren’t that high and everyone should spend the holiday with loved ones.
The White House stressed the Bidens have been going to Nantucket for 46 years. The first couple are scheduled to return to the White House on Sunday.
The president has come under fire for spending his stay at the home of Rubenstein, the billionaire co-founder of the Carlyle Group.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden step off Air Force One upon arrival at Nantucket Memorial Airport to spend the Thanksgiving holiday
Hunter Biden and his son Beau joined the Bidens for the flight
Hunter Biden carrying Beau Biden disembarks from Air Force One with some of the other Biden grandkids
The Bidens will be on Nantucket through Sunday
Biden ran for president as a symbol and representative of the middle class. But Psaki pushed back on Tuesday when asked what image it sent that Biden was spending the holiday at a billionaire’s house on Nantucket as inflation was on the rise across the country.
‘This is a time to put politics aside, spend time with your loved ones and talk about what you’re grateful for,’ she said.
She added that Biden will be working from the island.
‘He will conduct his work from wherever he is on any vacation on any time,’ she noted. ‘He has secure phone capabilities. He has staff traveling with him.’
She also said food prices weren’t that high.
‘There are abundance of turkeys available. They’re about $1 more for a 20 pound bird, which is a huge bird if you’re feeding a very big family, and that’s something that again, we’ve been working to make sure people have more money in their pockets to address,’ she said at her daily White House press briefing.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden’s decision to spend the Thanksgiving on Nantucket, saying foor prices weren’t that high and everyone should spend the holiday with loved ones
Thanksgiving Food Prices on the Rise
The Department of Agriculture released a list of the average price of Thanksgiving staples and noted that it over all represents a 5.0% increase over last year for these items:
Frozen Turkey Hen (12 lbs.) – $0.88 cents per pound
Sweet Potatoes – $0.83 cents per pound
Russet Potatoes – $0.90 cents per pound
Cranberries – $2.22 per 12 oz. bag
Green beans – $1.64 per pound
Milk (1 gallon) – $3.75 per gallon
The Farm Bureau estimates the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $53.31 or less than $6.00 per person. This is a $6.41 or 14% increase from last year’s average of $46.90:
16-pound turkey: $23.99 or approximately $1.50 per pound (up 24%)
2 frozen pie crusts: $2.91 (up 20%)
30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $3.64 (up 7%)
Half pint of whipping cream: $1.78 (up 2%)
1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.05 (up 15%)
12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.98 (up 11%)
1 gallon of whole milk: $3.30 (up 7%)
1 pound of frozen peas: $1.54 (up 6%)
3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.56 (up 4%)
1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 82 cents (up 12%)
Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $3.45 (up 12%)
14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $2.29 (down 19%)
The Department of Agriculture estimates a 5% increase in prices for select Thanksgiving essentials and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last week a large turkey would only cost $1 more.
However, the Farm Bureau reports the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $53.31 or less than $6.00 per person. This is a $6.41 or 14% increase from last year’s average of $46.90.
And it estimates a 16-pound turkey costs more than last year, at $23.99 – roughly $1.50 per pound, up 24% from last year.
The Bidens will stay at Rubenstein’s private compound on Nantucket Harbor.
The 13-acre compound is worth around $20 million.
Rubenstein is the co-founder of the private equity firm The Carlyle Group. He gives millions to charity – including for the repair of the Washington Monument after the 2011 earthquake and to the National Zoo for its Giant Panda program. He also is chairman of the Kennedy Center.
Biden has previously stayed at Rubenstein’s place on Nantucket, including in 2014 when he was vice president. The Bidens rent a home on the island for the holiday and the location has varied from year to year.
The Bidens, despite the enormous amount of staff, security and press following them, are expected to continue some of their usual traditions.
They usually get their Thanksgiving dinner from chef Bill Puder at Faregrounds restaurant.
Biden is also expected to attend the annual Christmas tree lighting event on Main Street Friday, the Nantucket Current reported, and will possibly go to Catholic mass at the St. Mary church on Federal Street on Saturday.
Over the weekend, military aircraft and vehicles arrived on the 105 mile square foot island and temporary flight restrictions were put into place ahead of Biden’s arrival.
The Bidens have already got a start on the holiday season.
President Biden pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey on Friday; Jill Biden received the White House Christmas tree on Monday and both Bidens held a ‘Friendsgiving’ with military service members at Fort Bragg on Monday night.
Earlier Tuesday Biden said he was thankful for the ‘people who I’m standing next to’ as he prepared Thanksgiving meals alongside Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff and staff at the DC Central Kitchen.
‘The people who I’m standing next to is who I’m thankful for. They got up. They got knocked down and got back up,’ Biden said, putting his arm around one of the staff next to him.
DC Central Kitchen trains jobless adults in the culinary arts along with providing meals for those in need.
The Bidens were participating in the service project before departing for Nantucket, where they will spend the Thanksgiving holiday.
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden formed an assembly line to put together Thanksgiving meals during a service project at DC Central Kitchen
President Joe Biden said he was thankful for the ‘people who I’m standing next to’ as he prepared Thanksgiving meals
Jill Biden called for Vice President Harris to hurry up and get to the string beans
The Bidens participated in the service project before leaving for Nantucket, where they will spend Thanksgiving – above President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, carrying flowers, arrive at Joint Base Andrews
The four helped prepare Thanksgiving meals for the nonprofit that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation. President Barack Obama and his family visited DC Central Kitchen twice while he was in office.
On the assembly line, President Biden took on turkey prep, Harris was on string bean duty, Jill Biden handled the squash casserole and Emhoff finished the meals off with gravy.
‘Come on Kamala,’ Jill Biden called to get the vice president to the table. ‘Get on the beans, you’re holding up the line.’
‘Oh no,’ Harris replied. She and Emhoff hurried to join the Bidens.
DC Central Kitchen, founded in 1989, said they planned to serve around 4,000 Thanksgiving meals this year. ‘They put together about 450 of those plates this afternoon during the visit,’ a spokesperson for the nonprofit told DailyMail.com of the presidential visit.
The president and second gentleman wore black baseball caps embroidered with DC Central Kitchen’s logo.
Celebrity chef José Andrés, who serves on DC Central Kitchen’s board, was there for the event.
The Bidens were still dating when they first visited Nantucket, with Biden’s sons, Beau and Hunter, in the mid-1970s.
Biden wrote in his 2017 memoir ‘Promise Me Dad’ that one of his aides suggest the island for a get-away.
‘Neither Jill nor I had ever been there, but we decided to go ahead and make an adventure of it,’ he wrote.
Over the weekend, military aircraft and vehicles arrived on Nantucket ahead of Biden’s arrival on Tuesday evening
The 13-acre compound owned by billionaire Carlyle group co-founder David Rubenstein on Nantucket Harbor is worth about $20 million
Carlyle Co-Founder David Rubenstein was honored alongside former Vice President Joe Biden at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy Gala in New York in November 2017
There was one notable interruption to the Bidens’ traditional visit to the island.
For Thanksgiving 2015, which took place about six months after Beau Biden, the president’s eldest son, died of brain cancer, Jill Biden opted to take the family to Rome instead.
Beau proposed to his future wife at Nantucket’s 2001 Christmas tree lighting and married her at a chuch on the island.
Last year, Biden and Jill celebrated Thanksgiving at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., because of the COVID pandemic, when medical experts were advising against large crowds. Only their daughter Ashley and her husband joined them.