NEWS AND OPINION:
There’s never been much talk of a summertime “staycation” for the U.S. president, or Congress for that matter. Let us recall that many Americans have opted for the proverbial staycation — dutifully staying at home during their time off and lolling in the backyard rather than at a fancy resort or theme park.
President Biden, meanwhile, left Friday for his beach vacation in Delaware, according to multiple news reports, such as this local update from the First State:
“For the third time since Father’s Day weekend, President Joe Biden is expected to be spending time at his North Shores home. However, unlike the previous two weekend-only visits, it appears the president will be staying through all of next week,” said the Cape Gazette, a news organization in Lewes, Delaware.
It noted that the expected return date to the White House is next Sunday — Aug. 6.
“How nice for him to have 10 days of beach time away from Washington — which would be Biden’s longest stay in Rehoboth since becoming president. But didn’t Biden just get back from a beach vacation earlier this month? Why yes, he did,” quipped a Townhall.com report Sunday.
“President Biden ducks and covers on another vacation amidst a spiraling scandal,” noted a RedState.com headline, also on Sunday.
“Mr. Biden has already spent three weekends at Camp David and a weekend at Rehoboth Beach, just in July and the last weekend of June,” the news organization advised.
Then we come to the 118th Congress.
They’re officially out of the office for 30 days beginning Tuesday, with the Senate returning on Sept. 5 — and both chambers in session by the 12th. This is, of course, according to the 2023 Congressional Calendar. The press, in the meantime, is pitching some criticism at the lawmakers. Here’s a trio of sample headlines:
“Members of Congress break for August with no clear path to avoiding a shutdown this fall,” noted the Associated Press. “Congress leaves for August recess with little movement on appropriations bills,” advised ABC News. “House to leave for August recess without resolving key spending fight, as government shutdown threat looms in fall,” said CNN.
NADER WEIGHS IN
The congressional vacation also attracted the attention of someone who has witnessed many lawmakers come and go.
We’re talking about an open letter to “all 535 members of Congress” from Ralph Nader, the longtime environmental activist and political commentator, which he released Friday.
“Does it seem reckless not to be in session, holding hearings, floor deliberations, personally communicating with one another, and legislating at a time of national and international convulsions?” Mr. Nader asked.
“Come to your institutional senses. Convene three out of the five weeks to work inside our legislature and focus our many unproductive committees and subcommittees on these calamities facing our country. That still leaves you with two weeks before Labor Day to rest, stretch and reflect on your full constitutional duties before the nation and the people who sent you there,” Mr. Nader advised.
Former President Donald Trump continues to draw a line in the proverbial sand as his campaign heats up and his legal complications continue.
“Every dollar spent attacking me by Republicans is a dollar given straight to the Biden campaign,” he told the enthusiastic crowd attending his campaign rally Saturday night in Erie, Pennsylvania.
He also asked the crowd whether he should attend the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 23. The big crowd responded with a collective roar of “no.”
Mr. Trump is not done yet, though.
Mr. Trump predicted Sunday he’ll win a “crushing victory on Nov. 5, 2024,” which is Election Day, of course.
“I am focused on the real mission of winning back the White House,” he said in a new campaign message shared with Inside the Beltway.
“I will continue to travel from battleground state to battleground state and do whatever it takes to win the 2024 election and save America,” Mr. Trump vowed.
THE RAMASWAMY FACTOR
Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy continues to gain buzz and recognition in the crowded 2024 race, and the press has begun to chart his potential trajectory in the bout.
“Ramaswamy didn’t attract all that much attention when he launched his presidential bid in February. A 37-year-old multimillionaire who made his fortune working at a hedge fund and then as a biotechnology entrepreneur, Ramaswamy had never served in government and was new to politics. He began making a name for himself as an ‘anti-woke’ crusader, but it wasn’t a name that most Republican voters had heard about,” noted NBC News in a new analysis of the 2024 playing field released Sunday.
“But that’s changing. Ramaswamy has blanketed the early-state trail as well as both conservative and mainstream media, embracing a strategy that has him omnipresent in the Republican presidential primary. That strategy seems to be working,” the network said.
Indeed, Mr. Ramaswamy placed third in the national primary field according to recent polling from FiveThirtyEight.com — and that finding is not the only promising one for the candidate.
“A number of national surveys have recently shown Ramaswamy surging. If the polling movement has come as a surprise to some, don’t count the candidate among them,” NBC News advised.
“Maybe it happened a tad earlier than we expected,” he told NBC in an interview.
“But at the time we started this race, I believed I was running to be the next president of the United States and lead a national revival,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.
“We’re just getting warmed up,” he added.
POLL DU JOUR
• 61% of U.S. adults would describe the U.S. economy as “struggling.”
• 56% would describe the economy as “uncertain,” 36% describe it as “unfair.”
• 27% describe it as “punishing,” 15% describe it as “rebounding.”
• 11% describe the economy as “expanding,” 10% describe it as “stable.”
• 10% describe the economy as “fair,” 5% describe it as “rewarding.”
SOURCE: A CBS News poll of 2,181 U.S. adults conducted July 26-28. Respondents were given a list of words and asked to “check all that apply.”
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.