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Maui residents slammed President Joe Biden during media interviews this week over his apparent lack of concern for the island following the devastating fires last week that have so far claimed at least 111 lives.
One resident of Lahaina, a historic town that turned to ash from one fire, spoke to Australian independent media outlet Rebel News and wondered why the Biden administration is so eager to send billions of dollars to Ukraine, but has been mostly silent on the tragedy in Maui.
“Why aren’t you taking care of what you claim to be in charge of rather than sending out all these funds and whatever else you guys are sending to Ukraine or anywhere?” the woman asked of Biden. “Take care of here first. I don’t see why any president wouldn’t step up and take care of what’s part of their territory. I think it’s a stupid move on his part. Biden? Yeah, he’s an idiot.”
Lahaina local questions why President Joe Biden is sending funds to Ukraine while her town has been destroyed and is in crisis. @JoeBiden
Support the people of Lahaina: https://t.co/DF9mpNeHT0
— Lincoln Jay (@lincolnmjay) August 19, 2023
Another Maui resident, Ella Sable Tacderan, asked CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, “Where’s the president?”
“Aren’t we Americans, too?” Tacderan asked. “We’re part of the United States. Why are we getting put in the back pocket? Why are we being ignored?”
Maui survivor breaks down on CNN:
"Where’s the president?” pic.twitter.com/5UVyN1O0zC
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 19, 2023
After Biden first said he had “no comment” on the wildfires while lounging on the beach, the White House announced earlier this week that the president and first lady will visit the island on Monday. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell also said the president has ordered a “whole of government” approach to addressing the fires.
The death toll from the wildfires that raged last week has now hit 111 and includes children, but only around 40% of the burn area has been searched and over 1,000 people are likely still missing, according to the governor. Video footage shows that some of the many fires that burned on the island likely started from downed power lines.
Hawaiian Electric is under scrutiny for allegedly slow-walking modernization and repairs of its electrical grid as it devoted resources to building out the utility’s green energy network. The state attorney general said it will use a third party to investigate how state and local government agencies responded to the devastating fires.