President Biden was sharply criticized on Sunday after telling reporters during a Delaware beach getaway that he had “no comment” on the rising death toll in Hawaii from severe wildfires.
“After a couple hours on the Rehoboth beach, @potus was asked about the rising death toll in Hawaii,” Bloomberg’s Justin Sink posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. He said that the president responded with, “no comment” before he went home. Video later confirmed his account, where Biden paused briefly before responding and getting into his transportation.
Critics responded to Sink’s post and hammered the president’s response, saying it was “embarrassing.”
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan, who frequently defends the White House, said Biden’s reported response would “hurt him” and called it “unforced errors.”
Another journalist, Yashar Ali, said Biden’s response was “absolutely terrible.”
“It seems like the president should have something to say about that,” The Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote.
It seems like the president should have something to say about that. https://t.co/3Em5U3XLLH
— Byron York (@ByronYork) August 14, 2023
this is revolting https://t.co/YbhyjfLdcQ
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) August 14, 2023
“It’s good to be a Democrat,” another response said.
It’s good to be a Democrat. https://t.co/STzytK1OFu
— jimtreacher.substack.com (@jtLOL) August 14, 2023
Absolutely embarrassing. The largest wildfire tragedy in modern American history, and the President has nothing significant to say about it? https://t.co/ONZnwKpQke
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) August 14, 2023
— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) August 14, 2023
“The famous Biden empathy,” CNN political commentator Scott Jennings said in response to Sink’s post.
The famous Biden empathy. https://t.co/O3PKTTqmfy
— Scott Jennings (@ScottJenningsKY) August 14, 2023
He just came back from a 14 day beach vacation. Spent 4 days in DC, now is back on the beach and has no comment for wildfires that wiped out entire communities. Just incredible stuff. https://t.co/eVJMXIG0bP
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 14, 2023
No comment? https://t.co/Xt1hVy0s3W
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) August 14, 2023
— Larry O’Connor (@LarryOConnor) August 14, 2023
The deadly wildfires have killed nearly 100 people in Maui and the tragic toll is expected to grow as crews continue to search through the ruins.
In response to a request for comment, The White House pointed to positive comments from Hawaii Gov. Josh Green about the federal government’s response on Sunday, who told MSNBC that he was “honored to have the President jump to it so fast.”
“President Biden has mobilized and led a whole-of-government response to the wildfires in Hawaii from the beginning, working closely on it and receiving detailed briefings every day since,” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “Yesterday he received two updates from FEMA Administrator Criswell while she was on the ground. As Governor Green stressed yesterday, within six hours of receiving Hawaii’s request, President Biden signed a Major Disaster Declaration and ordered all available federal resources in the state to help with the response. Governor Green described this as having provided ‘amazing support for recovery.’ Senator Hirono also thanked President Biden for the immediate support federal agencies have delivered for the residents of Hawaii, as has Senator Schatz. Like President Biden said on Thursday, “I’ve directed that we surge support to these brave firefighters and first responders and emergency personnel working around the clock […] I’m going to make sure the state has everything it needs from the federal government to recover.”
White House officials also said Sunday that Biden was briefed by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on the situation in Maui. The president posted an update late Monday morning.
“As residents of Hawai’i mourn the loss of life and devastation taking place across their beautiful home, we mourn with them. Like I’ve said, not only our prayers are with those impacted – but every asset we have will be available to them,” he wrote.
3. We’re making sure all residents receive critical information so they can take steps to move forward in their recovery.
This includes translating materials into the most common languages spoken in the islands and working closely with trusted community-led organizations.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 14, 2023
Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono praised the president Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I really thank the President for declaring an emergency declaration within hours of being asked to do that by the state of Hawaii. And I was there with the family of federal agencies including Administrator of FEMA, SBA, U.S. Fire,” she said.
A Maui resident told CNN on Friday that he wasn’t getting the support he needed from the government.
“I’m not getting what I need from the government,” Maui resident Cole Millington said.
“We need support on the federal level,” he continued. “We should have the Navy here. We should have the Coast Guard here. We should have helicopters here. It shouldn’t be me and my friends, in our 20, 30-year-old trucks grabbing supplies and driving them through a burning town to get there.”
The minimum expectation for a nation’s leader is to address disasters swiftly with compassion and transparency.
Biden can’t even be bothered to comment on Maui.
The Biden regime do not care about the American People and they don’t care if you know it.pic.twitter.com/kYMFaWkHm5
— Clandestine (@WarClandestine) August 14, 2023