(USNewsMag.com) – Although it took him a while, President Joe Biden finally paid a visit to Hawaii after his vacation following massive wildfires that devastated the island of Maui and left over 100 of its residents dead.
Two weeks after the tragic fires ripped through the island, the President and First Lady Jill Biden visited the devastated area of the Hawaii archipelago on Monday after finishing another vacation. They took an aerial tour by helicopter of the areas impacted and met with emergency responders, community members, and survivors, as well as local, state, and federal officials, for a briefing. They were also escorted around to survey the damage.
Criticism of the president’s response started after he replied “no comment” to a question about the rising death toll in Maui while Biden was vacationing on a Delaware beach.
Biden is receiving some backlash for how he conducted himself during the visit by telling a story about himself during his press remarks and cracking jokes, which some found to be distasteful after a disaster that killed 114 Americans. Over 1,000 people are still unaccounted for, so this number is expected to rise as the search continues, which could “take several weeks,” according to Josh Green, the Governor of Hawaii.
The president also announced the appointment of Bob Fenton, Region 9 Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as the chief response coordinator, who will oversee the federal government’s efforts to assist in recovery. Fenton was on the ground in Hawaii when the fires started and is described by the White House as “one of the nation’s most experienced” when it comes to disaster response and recovery.
In February, a massive train wreck and chemical spill happened in East Palestine, Ohio, which devastated the area. At the beginning of March, Biden promised he would visit the area, but that still hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, his rival, former President Donald Trump, visited immediately after the disaster took place, contrasting himself with Biden’s inaction.
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