A reporter pressured the White House on Tuesday over President Joe Biden’s failure to address the Maui fires.
“Does the president intend to address the criticism that he’s taken a long time to actually comment about the Hawaiian fires?” the reporter asked White House deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton on the way to Biden’s economic speech in Wisconsin.
Biden has received widespread criticism for dodging questions from the press about the wildfires on the island that have killed nearly 100 people. He mouthed that he had “no comment” about the death toll on Sunday, and said the administration would be “looking at” sending him to the state. He spoke about the tragedy at the top of his remarks on Thursday and is scheduled to address the issue again at the beginning of his speech Tuesday. (RELATED: Biden ‘Looking At‘ Visiting Maui While Planning Six-Day Mystery Trip To Nevada)
The president is scheduled to spend six days in Nevada, starting Friday. The White House has refused to reveal any details about his itinerary, other than he will be in Lake Tahoe.
“First of all I would point out that the president first addressed in public remarks about the fires last Thursday in Salt Lake City. He spoke to this. He put out a statement last week and he began marshaling a whole government response from day one,” Dalton responded. “The fact of the matter is, this president has been on it since the beginning. Marshaling a response across dozens of agencies across the government to get Hawaii everything that they need. He’s been in regular contact with the governor, with multiple officials, with his senior team, and we are looking to provide everything that the state is asking for.”
The White House also faced questions about Biden’s apparent silence on Monday.
NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre if Biden had received “any advice that he should not speak about Hawaii at this point.”
“You could expect to hear from the President on this issue. Clearly, it is something that is deeply concerning to him when it comes to the wildfires that we have seen in Maui,” Jean-Pierre responded.