Biden Announces Trip To Hawaii Nearly Two Weeks After Fires Began


Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden will travel to Hawaii on Aug. 21 to visit with those impacted by the deadly wildfires in Maui, the White House announced Wednesday.

Biden faced a wave of criticism for his lack of response and being seemingly apathetic about the historic disaster. He first delivered remarks at the top of a campaign speech Thursday, but then stayed mostly silent for four days.

On Sunday, he mouthed “no comment” about the death toll after relaxing on the beach, and said he would be “looking at” visiting the state. He avoided the press Monday and Tuesday before joking about having to speak about Hawaii at the top of a speech on “Bidenomics.” (RELATED: ‘Does The President Intend To Address The Criticism?’: Reporter Presses White House On Biden’s Response To Maui)

“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,” a statement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre read.

“In Maui, the President and First Lady will be welcomed by state and local leaders to see firsthand the impacts of the wildfires and the devastating loss of life and land that has occurred on the island, as well as discuss the next steps in the recovery effort. The President continues to marshal a whole-of-government response to the deadly Maui fires, and he has committed to delivering everything that the people of Hawaii need from the federal government as they recover from this disaster,” she added.

Biden first declared his intention to visit with the first lady Tuesday.

TOPSHOT – Charred remains of a burned neighbourhood is seen in the aftermath of a wildfire, in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii on August 14, 2023. The death toll in Hawaii’s wildfires rose to 99 and could double over the next 10 days, the state’s governor said August 14, as emergency personnel painstakingly scoured the incinerated landscape for more human remains. (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

The president has stayed in touch with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Hawaii Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz throughout the recovery effort. He also issued a disaster declaration and announced his administration would be giving $700 to residents impacted by the fire.

Biden faced criticism for the dollar amount, with social media users pointing to the aid packages being sent to Ukraine.

He vowed to visit East Palestine, Ohio, in March after a toxic train derailment but has yet to do so.