Joe Biden was booed and heckled on the streets of Nantucket on Saturday even as people protesting the war in Gaza were kept far away from the president.
His motorcade – from where he is staying at David Rubenstein’s $34 million home on Abrams Point – even took a different route into town – one that avoided driving past a group of protestors gathered on the side of the road who held signs saying ‘Free Palestine.’
And, a group of about 40 people calling for an end to the fighting in Palestine were kept down one end of Main Street in downtown Nantucket – about six blocks from where President Biden was shopping with Jill Biden, Hunter Biden and the first couple’s grandchildren. They held a large banner reading ‘Ceasefire 4Eva’ and chanted: ‘The pause is just a pause. A permanent ceasefire. Let Gaza live.’
Additionally, people in the crowds that lined the sidewalks shouted ‘shame on you’ and ‘armchair murder’ as the president walked by. Others booed. But there were also plenty of cheers mixed in with the cat calls as Biden supporters tried to drown out his critics.
President Joe Biden out shopping in Nantucket on Saturday
An onlooker shouts ‘shame on you’ as President Joe Biden, not pictured, visits local shops with relatives in Nantucket
President Joe Biden walks with his granddaughter Natalie Biden
Protesters wait along the route President Joe Biden will take into downtown Nantucket; his motorcade took a different route and didn’t go past them
Biden has become a target of criticism over his steadfast support of Israel, whose military has killed tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in their effort to root out Hamas fighters responsible for the October 7 attack.
The president has spent much of this Thanksgiving holiday dealing with war between Israel and Hamas. He addressed the first round of hostages released on Friday and spoke about it again on Saturday, saying ‘hopefully we’ll see something soon.’
But he also has spent a lot of time shopping with his family. He visited several shops in downtown Nantucket on Saturday, including the Murray Toggery, Mitchell’s Book Corner, The Black Dog, and Nantucket Pharmacy, where he came holding what looked like a smoothie.
He ended his shopping trip by going to 5 pm mass at St. Mary, Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church.
First lady Jill Biden was with him for the shopping portion of the day. She had her own fans – one group of girls yelled at her ‘You slay Jill.’
It was her second round of shopping for the day. Earlier she was out with granddaughters Finnegan and Naomi.
Dressed in black workout gear the first lady stopped in Murray’s Beverage Store, the local liquor store, and then made her way across the street to the Ralph Lauren store. She and the two girls were trailed by SUVs and a large contingent of Secret Service agents.
Protesters on Main Street in downtown Nantucket were kept far away from President Biden
Hunter Biden carries his son Beau Biden on Saturday during a family shopping trip
President Joe Biden chats with onlookers as he walks the streets of Nantucket
First lady Jill Biden shopped twice on Saturday – earlier in the morning and then in the afternoon with the president
President Joe Biden walks arm-in-arm with granddaughter Maisy Biden
Jill Biden, in workout gear and carrying gloves and a water bottle, was shopping in downtown Nantucket on Saturday
Finnegan Biden (right), looks back to talk to her grandmother Jill Biden
Naomi Biden follows Jill Biden out of Murray’s, the local liquor store
Shopping is a traditional outing for the Biden family when they are on the small island off the coast of Massachusetts.
On Friday, the family had their traditional lunch at Brotherhood of the Thieves, a local pub, before walking the streets for some Christmas shopping and then attending the annual lighting of the town’s Christmas Tree.
Their first stop was Nantucket Bookworks, a family tradition.
‘Can’t come without going to the bookstore. We’ve got a tradition,’ the president told reporters.
Biden walked out of the bookstore carrying the tome Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson.
‘We’re having a great time, thank you,’ Jill Biden told reporters of their day.
The president then popped into Craftmasters of Nantucket, a store Hunter was spotted in Wednesday, where the first son purchased a pair of slippers – potentially a gift for the president as the family was celebrating his 81st birthday that day.
Hunter Biden, his wife Melissa Cohen and their son Beau were out Friday and Saturday with the president and first lady. Hunter’s daughters from his first marriage, Maisy, Finnegan and Naomi, were also on hand for both days, as was Naomi’s husband of one year, Peter Neal.
First daughter Ashley Biden and husband Howard Krein are also on the trip as are the children of the late Beau Biden, Little Hunter and Natalie.
Several of the grandchildren – Natalie, Finnegan and Maisy – held on to President Biden as he walked the cobblestone sidewalks, keeping a grip on his arm as he made his way over the crooked bricks.
Jill Biden and her granddaughters also shopped in Ralph Lauren
Jill Biden with Finnegan Biden
On Friday night, the town’s annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony was interrupted by about a dozen protesters, asking the president to ‘Free Palestine’ and accusing him of genocide.
The president, first lady Jill Biden and their children and grandchildren were gathered alongside the tree in Nantucket’s town square as the town crier led the countdown for the lighting ceremony.
As the ceremony came to an end, fewer than 10 protesters at the front of the crowd unveiled ‘free Palestine’ and ‘end apartheid’ signs, directly in the president’s line of sight.
‘Biden, Biden you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide,’ they chanted.
A man went up to the microphone to remind them ‘this is a community tree lighting’ and said that while he ‘respected their right to the First Amendment’ he encouraged them to stop.
President Joe Biden (left) bought a copy of Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson at Nantucket Bookworks as he shopped with his family Friday, including granddaughter Finnegan (right), as the U.S. waits for its hostages to be freed from Gaza
Protesters held up ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘end apartheid’ signs at the Nantucket Christmas tree lighting that President Joe Biden attended with his family Friday evening
Baby Beau Biden is hoisted up by his sister Maisy Biden at the annual Nantucket Christmas tree lighting that was interrupted by ‘Free Palestine’ protesters
The pro-Palestine demonstration popped up after Nantucket’s downtown Christmas tree was lit for the holiday season, with President Joe Biden and his family situated a short distance away
They resisted, but their message was drowned out by the crowd’s cheering and loud Christmas music playing.
The children’s choir rushed over to the president in the interim.
The demonstrators were all Nantucket natives or currently live on the island.
‘Nantucket Island has long been considered an exclusive vacation getaway for rich tourists. However, the protests on Friday night indicate that island residents are pushing back on their island and community being used as a safe haven for politicians and wealthy elites,’ said a press release about the protest.
The Christmas tree lighting was the Biden family’s last stop off the day after taking over downtown Nantucket for several hours.
The president’s traditional Black Friday jaunt was delayed due to the first release of hostages from Gaza in the aftermath of Hamas’ brutal October 7 terror attack on Israel.
He gave a speech after the first round of hostages were released, where he asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be mindful of civilian casualties.
‘I have encouraged the prime minister to focus on trying to reduce the number of casualties while he is attempting to eliminate Hamas, which is a legitimate objective he has. That’s a difficult task and I don’t know how long it will take,’ Biden said.
The Biden clan reacts to the Christmas tree lighting Friday evening on Nantucket. (From left) Hunter, Melissa Cohen, the president, Ashley Biden, Howard Krein, little Hunter, Finnegan, baby Beau, Maisy and Dr. Jill Biden
Ashley Biden (center right) sported a holly and reindeer ears headband and attended the tree lighting with her husband Howard Krein (right), while Hunter Biden (left) stood with wife Melissa Cohen (center left)
Dr. Jill Biden (left) smiles as she wateches the Christmas tree lighting on Main Street in Nantucket alongside Hunter Biden (left) and President Joe Biden (center)
President Joe Biden (right) addressed the nation Friday afternoon from the White Elephant Hotel in Nantucket as the first hostages were released by Hamas from Gaza. No U.S. citizens have yet to be released and the president wasn’t sure when that would happen
‘My expectation and hope is that as we move forward, the rest of the Arab world and the region is also putting pressure on all sides to slow this down, to bring this to an end as quickly as we can,’ he added.