Amid major backlash over his abhorrent response to the tragic wildfires in Maui, the White House has finally announced that President Joe Biden will be visiting the island to survey the damage caused by the disaster.
The Maui wildfires have been declared the deadliest in the U.S. in over a century, with at least 106 people confirmed dead and more than 1,300 people missing. While many people expected that the president of the United States would be spending his time in Hawaii coordinating relief efforts or at least showing up to the island to speak to survivors, Biden spent last weekend on vacation on the beach in Delaware.
After lounging on the beach, the president was asked by reporters for a response to the wildfires and the rising death toll — to which he smiled and replied, “No comment.”
Reporters GASP as Joe Biden runs from their questions about rising count of Americans DEAD from Maui wildfire disaster to tan at the beach: "NO COMMENT!" pic.twitter.com/MHOkr2kRUz
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) August 14, 2023
Biden was also asked about the wildfires a second time as he was boarding Marine One to travel to give a speech touting “Bidenomics” in Wisconsin before taking another vacation in Lake Tahoe, to which he once again smirked and refused to respond to reporters’ questions.
It appears that the optics of Biden’s refusal to respond to the tragedy had gotten so bad that the White House was forced to add a trip to Maui into his schedule alongside his vacations and campaign events. On Wednesday morning, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced the visit to Maui in a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The President and First Lady will travel to Maui on Monday, August 21, to meet with first responders, survivors, as well as federal, state, and local officials, in the wake of deadly wildfires on the island,” she wrote.
The President and First Lady will travel to Maui on Monday, August 21 to meet with first responders, survivors, as well as federal, state, and local officials, in the wake of deadly wildfires on the island.https://t.co/N3rWx3Dbak
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) August 16, 2023
In the comments on Jean-Pierre’s tweet, many users pointed out that this was a pattern for Biden — as he has refused to visit the site of numerous tragedies throughout his presidency, including the train derailment in East Palestine and the mass shooting at the Covenant Christian School in Nashville, Tennessee.
Meanwhile, some critics have argued that Biden’s visit was prompted by the harsh criticism he faced from his top rival in the 2024 presidential race — former President Donald Trump, who responded to Biden’s “no comment” remark in a video addressing the tragedy in Maui.
“I would express my sympathy and warmest regards to the people of Hawaii, and specifically all of those who have been so gravely and irreparably hurt by the tragedy of the wildfires in Maui, something the likes of which have seldom been seen anywhere at any time,” Trump began.
“When asked about it today, as he was getting into a car, perhaps coming home from the beach, where he has been spending a great deal of time, crooked Joe Biden, the most incompetent president in the history of our country, with a laugh and a smile said he had no comment on the death and the tragedy,” Trump added.
“To say no comment is oftentimes fine but to be smiling when you say it, especially against such a tragedy as this is absolutely horrible and unacceptable. It is a disgraceful thing that Joe Biden refuses to help or comment on the tragedy in Maui, just as he refused to help or comment on the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, for a very very long time,” Trump continued.
“I would like to express my sympathy and warmest regards to the people of Hawaii…” pic.twitter.com/2tp8Tv9ytq
— Dan Scavino Jr.🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) August 14, 2023