Ahead of President Biden’s trip to a devastated Maui, Americans weighed in on his handling of the deadly wildfires that left thousands of Americans without homes, businesses and loved ones.
“It’s nuts,” Bill told Fox News. “Hawaii is part of the U.S. They should get a whole lot more assistance than they’ve been given.”
But Alston said: “I think he could’ve done more, but I think he did as much as he could as far as what he had.”
America’s deadliest wildfire in over a century tore through Lahaina, Hawaii, on Aug. 8, destroying around 2,200 buildings and forcing thousands to flee their homes. The death toll reached 114 as of Sunday evening, with over 1,000 people still unaccounted for.
On Aug. 13, while in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Biden faced criticism for initially responding “no comment” when asked about the disaster’s high death toll and for offering relief payments of $700 per household for Hawaiians affected by the blazes. But days later, the president held a press conference offering unlimited aid and support to the area.
Michael said he has “a problem” with the White House’s immediate response to the disaster.
“We need to help the Hawaiian people out completely,” he said. “Rebuild the whole thing.”
Korell said the president “should respond as quickly as possible and get the funding out there so the residents of Hawaii can get themselves together.”
After days of silence on the issue, while he vacationed in Lake Tahoe, Biden addressed the wildfires, calling them “devastating.” He also reaffirmed the White House’s commitment to help Hawaii with “whatever it needs.”
“I’ve spoken to Gov. Josh Green multiple times and reassured him that the state will have everything it needs from the federal government,” Biden said. “I immediately approved the governor’s request for an expedited major disaster declaration — that’s a fancy word for saying whatever you need, you’re gonna get.”
The president is set to visit the decimated Maui city on Monday with the first lady, but he said he wants to be sure “we won’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.”
“I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas, but I want to go and make sure they’ve got everything they need,” he said.
Still, some Americans criticized Biden’s initial response.
“No comment?” Tony said. “He don’t have nothing to say about people losing their lives, people losing their homes? What kind of president is he?”
“When you’re saying ‘no comment,’ that’s telling me that you really don’t care or you really didn’t have nothing in plan for something that will happen like this,” Alex told Fox News.
Biden also faced renewed criticism Thursday for declining to respond to a reporter’s question about his upcoming trip to visit the wreckage.
Mike compared the president’s initial delay in responding to the Chinese spy balloon earlier this year that flew from Alaska to the East Coast before it was shot down.
“It’s similar to the balloon that went across the entire country,” he said. “We did nothing till it traversed our entire nation.”
Isabelle McDonnell reported from New York City; Jon Michael Raasch from Washington, D.C.; and Teny Sahakian from Nashville.