Biden Finally Speaks on Hawaii and Botches It Badly

It was a pretty horrible thing to report on when Joe Biden was asked about the death toll in Maui from the horrific fire on Sunday, and he coldly said, “No comment.” Then video came out that showed on top of that, Biden smirked. If there’s one time when you should show empathy without holding back, it’s when a disaster has affected many Americans. But it was as though Biden couldn’t be bothered when he was on vacation. That death toll has increased now to 110, with hundreds still unaccounted for, so it’s likely to rise still more.

We’ve seen this from him before, such as when things began to spiral out of control at the start of that weekend when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. But Joe Biden was on vacation, so he couldn’t be bothered to address it until Monday. Forget about the 3 a.m. call. He can’t even respond to the broad daylight question days later.

Biden finally did make a public comment regarding the fire on Tuesday during another event. But even that he managed to botch badly, seeming to forget the name Maui or be confused about where the fire was.

“I apologize because I try very hard to keep my speeches between 15 and 18 minutes, but I got to talk a little bit about Hawaii,” Biden said as he began a speech that was supposed to tout his own economic policies. [….]

“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, mixing up Hawaii, known as the Big Island, and Maui.

Again, if he’s going to talk about the fire, can’t he even get where it happened straight? Yet, he again shows that he can’t be bothered when he can’t.

Biden said he and his wife Jill intended to visit once they wouldn’t get in the way, but he wasn’t prepared to set a date. Then his people turned around and said on Wednesday that he would be going on Monday, thus after his next vacation in Lake Tahoe at the end of the week.

“I campaigned for you,” former Hawaii legislator Kaniela Ing said, justifiably outraged. “Now, when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors. This?” He then said what he wanted was action.

Some Hawaiians don’t want Biden to come, not after his “no comment.”

“I don’t want him here,” Jay Awan, of Lahaina, told The Post Wednesday. “He’s just coming to Maui to look good in front of the cameras.” 

Awan, 45, a cook and tiki carver, said nothing would be gained from the 80-year-old president’s visit, as his town, a once-popular resort area, has been “burned to the ground.”  [….]

“It’s like a f–king warzone here,” he said of the devastation. “Maui’s never going to be the same. Lahaina’s never going to be the same.”

“They’re going to put resorts up all along here — Lahaina is going to lose its character as an old whaling village. We can’t get the historical sites back,” he lamented.

Peter Friedgen, another Lahaina resident, agreed with the sentiment, adding that he “don’t care if the president comes.”

The 66-year-old guitarist said he lost everything in the fire except for his instrument, which he strum[med] while waiting on the outskirts of the charred city for officials to come.

“It’s a waiting game now for someone to show up — the government, insurers,” he said. “I’ve just been down the beach, waiting for people to get into town.”

Kristi Bowman, a 60-year-old accountant from Lahaina, said she wanted him to come, but only to show the federal government’s commitment to help because so far that was lacking, “We haven’t had federal support,” Bowman said. “We’ve had local support, not federal.” 

Bowman said that she’d filed a claim for someone for disaster funding, and it “already got denied, saying they didn’t have proof from the insurance company over how much their losses were — but there’s no possible way to get that information right now.”  She also didn’t think much of Biden’s promise to give $700 per household affected. That sounds pretty minimal when you consider what they’re throwing at Ukraine and the scope of devastation in Maui.

So much for everything Biden claims they’re doing — it doesn’t sound like much federal help is getting to people.

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