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The Bidens are getting an early start on the Thanksgiving week by having dinner with service members

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — President Joe Biden is visiting naval installations in Virginia on Sunday for an early kickoff to the Thanksgiving holiday week. He plans to host a screening of the movie “Wonka” and have a “friendsgiving” meal with service members and their relatives.

The president and first lady Jill Biden headed to Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads for the screening of the film about the early life of Roald Dahl’s eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka.

Later, the Bidens plan to help serve dinner with service members from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Gerald R. Ford at Norfolk Naval Station, the largest installation of its kind in the world, along with their families.

There’s also a military event on Donald Trump’s schedule for his visit Sunday to Texas. The former president, who has a commanding early lead in the 2024 Republican primary, is giving a speech in Edinburg after serving meals to National Guard soldiers, troopers and others who will be stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border over Thanksgiving.

Trump is promoting hard-line immigration proposals he argues will better secure the border. He and top Republicans have long criticized the Biden administration for failing to do more to crackdown on people entering the United States illegally.

For the Bidens, offering support to the nation’s military has a personal connection. Their son Beau served in Iraq as a member of the Delaware National Guard. He died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46, when Joe Biden was vice president.

As he prepared to celebrate with the troops at home, the war between Israel and Hamas and the fate of hostages, including Americans, being held by the militants in Gaza, were front and center for the president. When Biden was asked by a reporter when more hostages might go free, he said, “I’m not in a position to tell you that.”

Last year, Joe and Jill Biden helped serve mashed potatoes and other sides as part of the buffet-style meal in Cherry Point, North Carolina, home to more than 9,000 military personnel and roughly 8,000 military family members.

In 2021, the Bidens visited the Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina for an early Thanksgiving meal in a hangar for about 250 service members and their families. Troops got chocolate chip cookies bearing the presidential seal.

The president and first lady plan to spend this Thanksgiving on Nantucket, a Massachusetts island.


This story has been corrected to reflect that the ship’s titles are USS, not USSS.

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