U.S. President Barack Obama arrived on Martha’s Vineyard to start his summer vacation Thursday, ignoring critics who said the president should cancel his holiday and stay in Washington to focus on the country’s economy.
Obama is expected to spend the next 10 days vacationing with his family on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that is a holiday spot for the wealthy. It is the Obama family’s third trip to the island, and they will be staying at Blue Heron Farm, a 28-acre, sub-private estate.
The president spent the morning in meetings with senior economic advisors in the Oval Office and then with his national security team in the Situation Room, before heading to Martha’s Vineyard in the afternoon, ABC News reports.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Obama will continue to work on the economy and receive regular security briefings even while he is away.
"I don't think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the president would spend some time with his family,” Carney said last week.
But a former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush said Obama should skip his vacation, as did Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“At a time when most Americans can barely afford a vacation that doesn’t involve pitching a tent in their backyard, President Obama isn’t doing himself any public relations favors by choosing to vacation in one of the country’s most exclusive and expensive destinations,” Scott Stanzel, a former White House deputy press secretary, told Politico.
Romney told Politico that “if you’re the president of the United States, and the nation is in crisis, and we’re in a jobs crisis right now, then you shouldn’t be out vacationing. Instead, you should be focusing on getting the economy going again.”