Biden Announces He & First Lady Will Travel To Hawaii
A call for "action" echoed across Hawai'i on Wednesday as residents expressed anger over the lackluster response of President Joe Biden to the devastating wildfires on Maui Sunday.
The death toll in the disaster, which blazed through the isle of Maui, has now risen to 110 with hundreds still unaccounted for -- and likely to rise. And now Biden's "no comment" and lackluster reaction to the tragedy has left many Hawaiians outraged.
"I campaigned for you," former Hawai'i legislator Kaniela Ing said. "Now, when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors. This? I don't want him here. He's just coming to Maui to look good in front of the cameras."
Indeed, his reaction was anything but empathetic. Video emerged Monday of President Biden smirking when asked about the tragedy during a while he was on vacation. And later Tuesday, during a speech meant to tout economic policies, he couldn't even remember the name of the island affected.
“The Army helicopters helped fire suppression efforts on the Big Island because there’s still some burning on the Big Island — not the one that, not the one where you see on television all the time,” he said, thinking Maui was the Big Island.
The President's posture towards the tragedy was further condemned when his people turned around and said he would be visiting this coming Monday - only after completing his next vacation in Lake Tahoe.
Unamused by his response, many Hawaiians are feeling left out of the relief conversation as outside forces - such as the federal government - appear to be unprepared to step up and give the resort island the assistance it desperately needs.
"We haven't had federal support," Lahaina resident Kristi Bowman said. "We've had local support, not federal". Bowman, an accountant, recounted trying to file a claim for disaster funding, which was denied because they "did not have proof from the insurance company over how much their losses were."
Even Biden's promise to provide $700 per household affected to those on the isle has been met with a lukewarm response.
"It's like a fucking warzone here," Lahaina resident Jay Awan said. "Maui's never going to be the same. Lahaina's never going to be the same.It's a waiting game now for someone to show up -- the government, insurers."
Today, Hawaiian natives have only one plea: Action. For a tragedy of this degree, it's shameful that a President scoffed at the tragedy and isn't willing to step up until he gets back from his vacation.