President Joe Biden, like many Americans, got some of his Christmas shopping out of the way on Friday, picking up Pokeman cards for the grandkids and some kids books for Baby Beau.
Biden spent more than an hour wandering around the cobblestone sidewalks of downtown Nantucket, popping into stores and stopping to talk with the locals.
‘He was really nice. We had a conversation,’ said one of the staff of Craftmasters of Nantucket, where Biden bought a leather passport holder to give as a Christmas gift. ‘He’s a very fine gentleman.’
At the Sunken Ship, Biden bought Pokeman cards for his grandkids, paying with $100 bill for the $19.99 pack, according to employees inside.
At Nantucket Bookworks, where the Biden family has shopped for over 35 years, the first couple purchased some hard cover children’s books for Baby Beau.
And Jill Biden bought several of the Christmas oranaments for sale, a tradition for the first lady.
‘Dr. Biden enjoys the ornaments,’ one of the book store staff said.
The ornament options include minature shops, different colored globes, and Christmas-themed ones, such as Santas and reindeers. The store also has an extensive children’s area, filled with books and toys.
Dr. Biden, a community college professor, also purchased several books.
President Biden made his stops ahead of Small Business Saturday, a time people are urged to shop at smaller stores.
‘Small businesses are the backbone of communities across the country — and it’s crucial we support them during the holiday season and all year round. Shop small,’ the president wrote on Twitter, including pictures of his shopping spree.
President Biden got some of his Christmas shopping out of the way on Friday; at Nantucket Bookworks he and the first lady bought Christmas ornaments and books for Baby Beau
At the Sunken Ship, Biden bought Pokeman cards for his grandkids
Biden spent over an hour walking the streets of Nantucket on Friday, where he shopped and stopped to chat with locals
The president, who has been coming to Nantucket for Thanksgiving most years since the mid-1970s, indugled in one of his long standing traditions – walking around stores, chatting with people and watching the town Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.
For that brief period of time on Friday he was plain ‘Joe’ again – except he was surrounded by Secret Service, White House staff, and members of the press. Agents cleared the sidewalks before him and The Beast rolled down the street next to him as he walked.
It’s rare for a president to be able to walk around outside, particularly for as long as Biden did.
And he was impossible to miss – a moving mass of people and vehicles surrounding him as he walked. It was uncontrolled chaos as Biden chose his path and everyone raced to catch up as locals gathered en mass to see what was going on. There was pushing, there was shoving yet there was also holiday cheer.
Despite the pandemonium, the townspeople seemed thrilled to catch a glimpse of the president.
And Biden looked just as happy to be out, stopping to talk to people even as a yellow police line and a row a Secret Service agents seperated him from the crowd.
‘You look younger in real life,’ a man said to him.
One little girl in a pink coat, sitting on an adult’s shoulders, was so excited she waved her stuffed toy dog and barked at the president.
Others cried out: ‘We love you Joe,’ ‘Hey, Mr. President,’ and, of course, ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’ Nearly everyone had a phone out, taking photos and video of the moment for posterity.
For this trip, Biden, who emphasizes his Scranton roots, was staying at the 13,000 foot home of billionaire David Rubenstein, situated on a private compound on the island’s inner harbor. Coast Guard ships patrolled nearby and state police closed the local access road.
President Joe Biden, with two of his grandchildren, walked the streets of Nantucket on Friday to do some shopping
Biden waves to the crowds during his jaunt around Nantucket
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden stand with members of their family during the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony
Baby Beau Biden on dad Hunter Biden’s shoulders with mom Melissa at the side
President Joe Biden’s granddaughter Maisy Biden holds Beau Jr. as the president’s family attends a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony
Biden had lunch at the Nantucket Tap Room where he ate a burger and posed for photos
For his shopping spree, the president broke free from the bubble of the presidential motorcade after a post-Thanksgiving lunch with his family.
As agents led him toward the presidential limo known as the Beast, Biden ducked to the side and up the street, walking toward some of the shops. The agents moved quickly to clear the mass of locals who gathered to see the motorcade leave as staff and media raced to catch up.
The on-and-off again rain showers didn’t deter the president – umbrella in hand, some Biden grandchildren at his side, the president walked the cobblestone sidewalks, baseball cap on head, face mask in place. At times Maisy Biden held onto his arm as they walked.
He waved to shopkeepers who came to their doors, cell phones in hand, to see what the fuss was about. He visited an array of stores – Sunken Ship, Island Cashmere, Centre Point and Freedman’s of Nantucket.
He made a circular route around the downtown shopping area, ending his loop where the town Christmas Tree stood dark, waiting to be lit.
The Biden clan gathered in mass for the tree lighting: baby Beau was passed around from family member to family member: Maisy brought him closer to see the tree after it was lit, dad Hunter held him on his shoulders and mom Melissa held him for photos.
Biden didn’t light the tree but stood to the side next to wife Jill and the rest of his family, watching the ceremony take place.
The Biden grandkids took selfies, and danced and sang to the Christmas carols, sung by local high school students.
President Biden talks to the crowd gathered to see him
Biden appeared to make some purchases in some of the shops
Crowds of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the president
The Bidens attended the ceremony for the lighting of the Nantucket Christmas Tree
President Biden shakes hands with the town crier, next to him Maisy Biden holds Baby Beau
The Bidens’ grandchildren cheered as the tree was lit
A crowd gathers on the street of Nantucket to see the president
Locals posted their sightings of the president
President Biden spent more than an hour walking the streets and visiting shops
Biden carried an umbrella and wore a face mask and a baseball cap for his jaunt around town
President Biden also talked to the press about his decision to place a travel ban on some African countries after a new variant of COVID was detected
President Biden started his day taking his family to lunch at the Nantucket Tap Room, which serves traditional New England food and is located in a historic building from 1845 in downtown Nantucket.
The president was spotted shaking hands and taking selfies with patrons while inside. A local reporter noted he had a burger.
Afterward the Bidens stopped Nantucket Bookworks, where staff there said the family had been shopping for 35 years.
Jill Biden was there as was Hunter, Melissa, Ashley, Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, Hunter, and baby Beau Biden; and, Peter Neal, Naomi’s fiancé.
Dining out the Friday after Thanksgiving is a longtime Biden family tradition.