Biden Brings DC to Its Knees During Fundraising Trip to Super-Rich Suburb

Octogenarian president opted against taking direct route to Maryland, prompting massive traffic jams

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
June 28, 2023

President Joe Biden caused multi-hour traffic jams Tuesday night when he declined to take the most direct route to a private fundraiser in suburban Maryland and instead shut down Washington, D.C.'s main highway during rush hour.

Afternoon travelers enjoyed heavy delays and miles of backups after Biden closed major portions of the Capital Beltway to travel to a private fundraiser in Chevy Chase, Md., the state's wealthiest town. The octogenarian Democrat did not need to shut down the highway to get to his campaign's soirée—the most direct route from the White House to Chevy Chase would have seen Biden travel five of the trip's roughly seven miles down Connecticut Avenue, a route that Apple Maps notes contains the fewest turns. Instead, Biden's motorcade took a longer route, causing some segments of the Beltway to come to a complete halt.

Biden during his Tuesday night fundraiser acknowledged that presidential road closures "make a hell of a lot of people mad" and could even cause him to lose "thousands of votes." "We had traffic problems on the highway. I don't know what the hell is the matter," he said. "But we also make a hell of a lot of people mad if we don't get going, because they're—they block the roads beginning now."

While it's unclear why Biden opted to explain the road closure issue rather than leaving—the remarks added time to Biden's speech and thus kept roads closed for even longer—the Democrat's assessment that traffic jams "make a hell of a lot of people mad" was quickly proven correct. When the Washington Post highlighted the traffic jams in a piece headlined, "Motorcade snarls traffic after closure of Beltway's inner loop," commenters flooded the post with angry assessments.

"Who's the geographically challenged idiot who came up with this route? Stopping Beltway traffic during rush hour???" one reader asked.

"What an unnecessary and thoroughly crappy move. And why the hell are they taking such a ridiculous and convoluted route?" another wrote. "Just drive up Conn. Ave for goodness sake—without shutting it down. … There are about a million better and more direct ways to go from the White House to Chevy Chase."

The White House did not return a request for comment on why Biden took "such a ridiculous and convoluted route." The Secret Service in a Tuesday statement said it "does not specifically discuss the means and methods used to conduct protective operations in order to maintain operational security."

Biden's Tuesday night traffic jam comes as the Democrat faces record-low approval. A Pew Research Center poll published last week found that just 35 percent of Americans approve of the president, compared with 62 percent who disapprove. That approval rating is 2 points lower than Biden's previous record low of 37 percent, which was registered in April.