While soaking up the sun at his Delaware beach house, President Joe Biden offered no comment when asked about the deadly wildfires on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Here’s how people reacted.
He Was on Vacation
While the island of Maui was experiencing catastrophic wildfires, President Joe Biden was on vacation with his wife at his beach house in Delaware.
When a reporter asked him if he had anything to say about the rising death toll, Biden responded with, “No. No comment.”
It Was a Good Day for a Bike Ride
In a separate instance in Delaware, Biden was riding his bike and responded with, “We’re looking at it,” when reporters asked him if he would visit Maui.
Both Republicans and Democrats had issues with Biden’s vague responses.
Donald Trump posted a two-minute video criticizing Biden’s response to the wildfires. “It’s a disgraceful thing that Joe Biden refuses to help or comment on the tragedy in Maui,” said Trump.
Volunteers Were Providing Assistance
A Democrat from Hawaii said the president’s response was “shocking” and “out of character.”
The New York Times reported that residents of Maui said they were receiving more assistance from volunteers than they were from the government.
The White House Defends the President
A White House spokesperson responded to the criticism on how the Biden Administration responded to the wildfires.
Long-Term Recovery Efforts
The White House spokesperson’s statement was, “The Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a robust whole-of-government response effort to support immediate and long-term rescue and recovery efforts in Maui.”
He Was “Deeply Concerned”
Although Biden had “no comment” on the deadly wildfires, the White House said he was “deeply concerned” and made a list of the many federal departments and agencies that were on the ground providing support and resources.
He Acted So Fast
There was a lot of criticism of Biden not doing enough, but some people came to his defense pointing out the positive things he did.
The governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, said he was “honored” that the president jumped into action “so fast.”
Thank You Mr. President
A Democratic senator from Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, said, “I really thank the president for declaring an emergency declaration within hours of being asked to do that by the state of Hawaii.”
Residents Are Struggling
Despite the president signing the emergency declaration, Maui resident, Cole Millington, told reporters that he wasn’t getting the support he needed.
Millington said he wanted more support on the federal level. “It shouldn’t be me and my friends in our 30-year-old trucks grabbing supplies and driving them through a burning town to get there.”
Exception to the Rules
A few days after the “no comment” incident, Biden made an exception to lengthen his speech to talk about Hawaii.
He told the crowd that he tries “very hard to keep [his] speeches between 15 and 18 minutes,” but he needed to talk “a little bit about Hawaii.”
One-Time $700 Grant
Biden shared about the federal efforts that were on the ground in Hawaii to support the residents who had lost everything.
He also mentioned a “critical needs program” which offered a one-time $700 grant to the victims of the wildfires.
FEMA Is on the Ground
According to the Biden Administration, there were 300 FEMA workers on the ground who had provided meals, water, cots, and blankets.
He Didn’t Want to Be in the Way
Biden said he would eventually travel to tour the damage on Maui, but he didn’t want to “get in the way” and “disrupt” recovery efforts.
Former Democratic Allies Are Outraged
Former Democratic Hawaii legislator, Kaniela Ing, was outraged over the way the Biden Administration has handled the tragedy. Ing spoke out saying, “I campaigned for you. Now when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors. This?”
The Money Is Going Elsewhere
Adding salt to the wound is the fact that two days after the fires started in Hawaii, the Biden Administration asked Congress to provide more than $13 billion to Ukraine for emergency defense aid.
This made some feel like Biden cares more about other countries than his own.
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