When wildfires ripped through the Hawaiian island of Maui, leaving thousands of houses on the island a charred wreck and at least 115 people dead in its wake, it took President Joe Biden 13 days, nearly two weeks, to visit.
Fox News’ White House correspondent, Peter Doocy, pressed KJP over that delay in the president’s visit during a recent press briefing, demanding an answer as to what happened with the White House’s response generally and with the president being on vacation as the roaring blaze wrecked the island.
He asked, “It seems like the hurricane response so far is robust. Did you guys realize that the initial Hawaii wildfire response was not that good, or is it just easier for people to get help from the White House when the president is not on vacation?”
KJP was less than happy with the question, though she responded by disagreeing with Doocy’s insinuations and premises rather than by doing the usual thing and just not answering the questions by saying he should ask someone else.
In fact, KJP argued that Biden and his administration “responded in record time” to the situation, telling Doocy, “So, the premise of your question and the way you posed your question, I disagree, just for the record.So, if you talk to, if you were to do your reporting and speak to the governor of Hawaii, the senators of Hawaii, the folks on the ground, they would say that the president reacted in record time when it came to dealing with the wildfires.”
Continuing, she said that Biden sent plenty of other people to deal with the fires, telling Doocy, “When it came to dealing and making sure that they got everything that they need on a federal level to deal with what was going on. Let’s not forget there were more than 600 federal employees on the ground, already, to assist with the wildfires in Maui.”
Then she reverted to her usual tactics and told Doocy to talk to someone else, saying, “So, your question is wrong, it’s flawed in many, many ways, and I would advise you to go speak to the governor and the local and state officials in Hawaii,”
— Dylan Housman (@Dylan_Housman) August 30, 2023
Rather than thanking Biden for being so quick, many were angry that Biden said “no comment” when asked about the fires while on vacation. White House deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton later tried to defend that answer, saying, “He didn’t hear the question. He absolutely didn’t say ‘no comment’ in relation to Maui. And in fact, he had already spoken to the nation about Maui at that point, in addition to being in daily contact with senior staff, FEMA and state officials as he marshaled a whole-of-government response to the fires.”
Regardless, many Hawaiians on Maui, some of whom lost houses, family members, and possessions in the blaze, were angry about what they thought was a low level of aid being provided to them and the lengthy amount of time it took to reach them.
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