By Jeff Mason
NANTUCKET, Mass. (Reuters) – President Joe Biden delivered pumpkin pies to firefighters on Thursday to celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and expressed hope about a pending hostage release in the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
Biden, who is vacationing with his family on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, has spent part of his time here speaking to foreign leaders about the war.
He told reporters at the fire station that he would not give an update on the hostages until Friday, but said he was keeping his “fingers crossed” that a 3-year-old American girl would be among those released first.
Israel and Hamas will start a four-day truce on Friday, Qatar mediators said, with a group of 13 Israeli women and children being held hostage released later that day.
Biden has a decades-long family tradition of coming to Nantucket for the Thanksgiving holiday.
After he and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, delivered the pies, they returned to the place where they are staying for the trip, a home owned by their friend David Rubenstein, the billionaire co-founder of private equity giant The Carlyle Group.
In earlier remarks on NBC, Biden urged people to focus on solving problems together and stopping rancor in U.S. society.
“Today is about coming together,” said Biden, a Democrat who is running for reelection in 2024 and may face former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
Asked at the fire station about his message for U.S. citizens Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, who have been detained in Russia, the president said: “We ain’t giving up.”
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis)