Biden went four days without talking about the Maui fires, and Republicans say that's proof he's not addressing the devastation


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sparty-on  •  8 months ago  •  28 comments

By:   NBC News

Biden went four days without talking about the Maui fires, and Republicans say that's proof he's not addressing the devastation
Critics of President Joe Biden say four days without talking about the Maui fires amounts to a failure to address the devastation.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Aug. 15, 2023, 4:38 PM UTC / Updated Aug. 15, 2023, 8:05 PM UTCBy Peter Nicholas, Megan Lebowitz and Monica Alba

WASHINGTON — It's the sort of split-screen moment that no White House relishes.

While Maui counted its dead Sunday, President Joe Biden sat on the beach in Delaware, rode his bicycle and said little about the deadliest wildfire to hit the U.S. in a century.

"We're looking at it," he said, pedaling past reporters who shouted at him as he whizzed by.

Biden first delivered remarks last Thursday about the catastrophic fire in Hawaii. The next day, his son became the subject of a federal special counsel investigation. And since then, Biden has said virtually nothing to the media — not about Hunter or the fires or anything else.

Four days of silence haven't gone unnoticed — not by the reporters who pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday about why he has not spoken out more or by Republicans, who piled on criticism that Biden was failing to address the devastation, or by conservative media, who on Tuesday juxtaposed pictures of Biden at the beach with video of the fires.

Donald Trump, in a video posted between attacks on the prosecutor who indicted him Monday, released a two-minute video criticizing Biden's response to the fires.

"It is a disgraceful thing that Joe Biden refuses to help or comment on the tragedy in Maui," he said. Trump also criticized the Democratic governor and referred dismissively to global warming.

Biden says he and first lady will go to Hawaii 'as soon as we can'

Aug. 15, 202304:17

The White House points to the response on the ground as proof that the Biden administration is taking the catastrophe seriously. Nearly 500 federal workers are deployed in Hawaii. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots and 10,000 blankets. The Coast Guard and the Navy's 3rd Fleet supported response efforts, and the Marines provided Black Hawk helicopters to fight fires.

Biden has also spoken with Gov. Josh Green, Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, Hawaii Democrats and other officials.

Hirono, whose office didn't respond to a request for comment, has defended the White House's response to the fires, tweeting that she was "glad to see so many on the right are so concerned about what's happening in Hawaii" and asking Republicans to support more funding.

Residents said over the weekend that they were getting more help from volunteers than from the government, The New York Times reported.

"We won't be lectured by Republican officials in Washington who are doubling down on denial of the climate crisis that is devastating red and blue states, who attempted to slash the wildfire response budget, and who defended the Trump administration cutting Puerto Rico off from hurricane relief," said Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman.

With the death toll expected to continue to climb, Biden flew to the 2024 battleground state of Wisconsin on Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of an ambitious climate change package that is central to his campaign message.He spoke for five minutes at the start of his remarks about the fires.

"I don't want to get in the way. I've been to too many disaster areas," Biden said of the considerations that go into making the trip. "But I want to go and make sure we got everything they need. I want to be sure we don't disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts."

Critics have seized on what they see as a potential vulnerability.

The Republican National Committee sent out an email Monday with a picture of Biden sitting in a beach chair in a sandy stretch of Delaware while "Hawaiians are left to fend for themselves."

Doug Heye, a former RNC official, said Biden's relative silence was "surprising" and "disappointing."

Biden had "always been portrayed as somebody who would be a great consoler-in-chief," Heye said. "And, you know, here we have the deadliest wildfire in our nation's history, and he's been silent."

Having lost a wife and a daughter in a car crash and a son to cancer, Biden has embraced the role of soothing those who are in pain, invoking his own experiences to comfort a grieving parent or child. He often promises that the day will come when the memory of a loved one "will bring a smile to your lips before a tear to your eye" — as he said in 2021 in a speech marking the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Delivering that kind of reassurance often calls for visiting the scene of the disaster. A White House spokeswoman told reporters Tuesday that officials are having an "active conversation on when a visit to Hawaii might be possible." Such a presidential trip poses daunting logistical challenges given the distances and the ongoing efforts to contain the fires and find more victims.

"We want to make sure that they have, you know, all of the resources and the space that they need and not disrupt operations right now," FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said at a news briefing Monday.

Natural disasters test a president's executive skills and political savvy. Former President George W. Bush was seen as falling short on both counts when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005. The storm killed more than 1,300 people, many of whom were Black and poor and trapped in the floodwaters that rose after the storm had passed.

While far less devastating, a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, provided a stage for Trump to one-up Biden. The accident in February released toxic chemicals that caused a mass evacuation and stoked fears of wider contamination. No one was killed, but concerns linger about long-term health consequences.

Trump visited the site a few weeks after the crash, meeting with local officials and sharply criticizing Biden for staying away. Though Biden said he, too, planned to visit East Palestine, more than six months later, the trip has yet to materialize. Biden did directfederal resources to the region, but Republicans criticized him for flying to Ukraine the same month rather than traveling to East Palestine to survey conditions.

When he was in power, Trump faced strong criticism over his response to a hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. As he visited the island, Trump tossed paper towels into the crowd at a relief center, an act seen as insensitive given the scope of the damage.

It often takes time to assess the response on the ground and whether there were missteps. An inspector general's report found that the Trump administration obstructed an investigation into why officials withheld about $20 billion in hurricane relief for the island.

"Ultimately, you'll be judged by what's happening on the ground. You can say a lot, but ultimately the mayors and the local officials and governors really don't care so much about your words, but are you acting on the long list of needs that they're giving you," Robert Mann, who was an aide to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said in an interview.

Getting resources to Hawaii in the coming months could quickly become a partisan fight in Congress. Republicans have historically resisted spending more for disasters, particularly in places that don't traditionally vote for the GOP.

Schatz, the Democratic senator, is already starting to make the case that more money is needed.

"We are going to need a bipartisan emergency supplemental appropriations bill that includes significant funding for Hawaii," he said. "I'm working with state and local officials, the Biden administration and my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to make sure Hawaii gets all the federal resources it needs."

Peter Nicholas

Peter Nicholas is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.

Megan Lebowitz

Megan Lebowitz is based in the Washington bureau. She has written about breaking politics news and U.S.-China relations.

Monica Alba

Monica Alba is a White House correspondent for NBC News.

Sahil Kapur contributed.

Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Sparty On    8 months ago

Another fail by “America’s” President.

Junior Expert
1.1  George  replied to  Sparty On @1    8 months ago

No comment.

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Sparty On @1    8 months ago

Remember what they did to George W Bush during Katrina?

That's when they portrayed New Orleans as a 100% black city.

Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    8 months ago

But bush was a republican.  That’s really all that matters. That’s all that ever matters.

Professor Quiet
1.2.2  Jasper2529  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.2    8 months ago
Remember what they did to George W Bush during Katrina?

Biden has trumped Bush with a trifecta/hat trick ... Afghanistan, East Palestine, and now Lahaina. 

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.2.1    8 months ago
But bush was a republican.

A very moderate one at that. They called him "a Fascist."

Professor Silent
1.3  SteevieGee  replied to  Sparty On @1    8 months ago

Well there's this dated August 9.

Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
1.3.3  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  SteevieGee @1.3    8 months ago

Did I read that right? Helicopters? Talk about fanning the flames 256

Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
1.3.4  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to    8 months ago

Yeah they go all smart ass with "our tots and pears"

Professor Silent
1.3.7  SteevieGee  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.3.3    8 months ago
Did I read that right? Helicopters? Talk about fanning the flames

They do use helicopters to fight fires you know.  It's literally what my son does for a living for CalFire.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1.3.11  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  SteevieGee @1.3.7    8 months ago

Thread cleaned up for slap fight.

Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.3.12  seeder  Sparty On  replied to  SteevieGee @1.3.7    8 months ago

The Sikorsky S-64 sky crane.

Great helicopter.

Professor Silent
1.3.13  SteevieGee  replied to  Sparty On @1.3.12    8 months ago

He does their new blackhawks.

Professor Quiet
1.3.14  Ronin2  replied to  SteevieGee @1.3    8 months ago

A release on the White House website written by some underling is not the same thing as the President answer questions from the media.

Bush Jr was blasted for his lack of personal response after Hurricane Katrina- even though the Federal government was fully involved already in the cleanup process and providing relief.

Brandon deserves the same treatment. He is the supposed leader of this country. He can't get away with "no comment" and ignoring the media. 

Ask the people involved how they feel about the "support" they are getting from the federal government.

Hawaiians have been forced to take charge of their own wildfire recovery efforts in light of what some are blasting as an incredibly slow response by the federal government.

Professional surfer and Maui resident Kai Lenny said he and others sprang into action and got “boots on the ground” on the devastated west side of the island instead of waiting for the feds any longer.

“For some of us we were kind of sitting back, waiting for help to arrive and then nothing was sort of happening. We were just in shock,” Lenny told CBS News .

“I haven’t seen one state, one county, one federal official at any one of the donation hubs where people are most suffering,” Lenny continued. “As soon as you go to the west side, all of a sudden, you’re like, ‘Wow, why do I feel like I’m in a third-world country right now?'”

Brandon still hasn't visited East Palestine, OH. Doubt it will be one of his campaign stops trying to sell "Bidonomics". Hawaii is hardly a conservative/Republican mecca. Seems that Democrats don't matter to him either- he already has their vote, and that is all that matters.

Brandon is supposed to be President. He wanted the job so damn badly he sold his soul to far left extremists. Past time he started acting like it.

Professor Silent
1.3.16  SteevieGee  replied to  Ronin2 @1.3.14    8 months ago

You see Ronin, I was listening to NPR a couple days ago and they were interviewing Josh Green and he said that Biden was in regular contact with him and had promised him everything he needs regarding the fire.  However, Biden was already asking Congress for more funding for FEMA before the fire so there are limits as to what Biden is able to do.  Maybe you should look toward Congress who seems more interested in vengeance than the fine people of Hawai'i.

Greg Jones
Professor Participates
2  Greg Jones    8 months ago


Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
3  Jeremy Retired in NC    8 months ago
To further assist survivors, FEMA has activated a transitional sheltering assistance program to help displaced residents find a hotel or motel, as well as a "critical needs" program to provide $700 to eligible people for food, water and other supplies.

Under Biden's inflation, that $700 will last a single day.  And there are actually people who support this bullshit.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced it is asking Congress for about $40 billion in funding for disaster recovery, border enforcement and aid to Ukraine as Russia’s invasion stretches into its second year. 

President Joe Biden wants about $24 billion of the funds to go toward Ukraine and other related international needs as the war-torn country’s counteroffensive treks on. 

But you can bet that Ukraine will get that money this fuck up want's to send them

Professor Quiet
3.1  Jasper2529  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @3    8 months ago
Under Biden's inflation, that $700 will last a single day. 

Especially in very expensive Hawaii. Btw, that $700 allotment is per household ... not per person. Thanks for the crumbs, Joe.

Professor Quiet
3.2  Ronin2  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @3    8 months ago

Of course Joe wants the money to flow to Ukraine. He knows some of it will be flowing right back into his family's personal coffers. 

$24 billion more into the never ending sink hole that is Ukraine. NATO countries are overjoyed Brandon is in charge and they are able to wag the US dog again.

Sparty On
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Sparty On  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @4    8 months ago



Who is online

72 visitors