President Joe Biden was snowed into Air Force One as he landed back in Washington DC when a snowstorm brought the US capital to a standstill. The video footage of Mr Biden finally leaving the plane quickly went viral with social media users comparing the 79-year-old to former President Donald Trump.
“President Biden looks like a badass at Air Force One. He isn’t afraid of snow rain unlike the other guy,” one Twitter user said.
“Remember in November 2018 when Trump decided to stay in a Paris hotel instead of driving 50 miles to honour America’s war dead because he didn’t want to get his hair wet?” another account holder wrote.
“Biden took Air Force One back to Joint Base Andrews in the middle of a snowstorm to get back to work. Trump would still be golfing at the ‘Winter White House’ in these conditions,” a third said.
Mr Biden was able to leave the plane after the airport staff worked in the heavy snow to bring the stairlift to the door of the aircraft. The snowstorm grounded Marine One, the presidential helicopter that usually takes the president to the White House from Joint Base Andrews, leading to Mr Biden being driven through the sleet after spending the weekend at home in Delaware.
The truck transporting the stairs was pushed by workers as it struggled through the snow, with the president being stuck on the tarmac for 30 minutes.
Mr Biden covered his face against the snow as he walked down the staircase, with a Secret Service agent following closely behind him.
The armoured limousine that usually transports the president was swapped for the SUV version to deal with the snowy DC streets.
The drive from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to the White House, a journey that usually takes around 30 minutes as the streets of the capital are normally shut down for the commander in chief, took more than an hour in the snowstorm.
While the president’s motorcade usually speeds by DC residents at 60 miles an hour (100km/h), on Monday it slowed to 20 miles an hour (32 km/h) at times.
The motorcade at one point came to a standstill for six minutes and journalists travelling with the president reported that their van slided across the roadway.
Reporters also noted downed trees and deserted cars along the route. Around 10 inches of snow is forecast to fall over DC, northern Virginia, and central Maryland. According to the National Weather Service, the snowstrom could hobble the DC area until Thursday morning.
Mr Biden and his entourage were not the only DC area residents struggling with the weather on Monday. US Capitol Police closed the grounds around the congressional building as the heavy snow broke tree branches that fell to the ground.
Mr Biden was returning from his six-day break in Wilmington, Delaware when the stormy weather caused both the federal government and schools in the area to shut its doors.
The first press briefing of 2022 with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was also cancelled amid the chaotic weather.
“Because federal offices in the Washington, DC area are closed, there will be no press briefing today,” the administration said. Ms Psaki’s last briefing was on 23 December.
The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) recently decided to decrease the number of reporters allowed in the briefing room as the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has led to a rise in cases. Washington DC has recently become a hot spot for the virus.
On 2 January, the seven-day daily average of new cases in the capitol was more than 2,000, up from just over 100 on 13 December.
“Given the virulence of the spread, medical experts have once again advised that it would be prudent to substantially reduce the number of people working in the cramped, poorly ventilated workspace that we share,” WHCA president Steven Portnoy said in a message to reporters on Sunday.
The 49 available seats in the briefing room has now been reduced to 14.