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Biden Can’t Fix His Hawaii Failure

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Just over a week ago, Joe Biden refused to cut short his vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to oversee federal recovery efforts for the wildfires in Hawaii, nor did he return to the White House to make even the slightest effort to pretend to care.

In fact, when reporters asked him about the rising death toll in Maui, Biden, who had just spent a couple of hours on the beach in Rehoboth, merely replied, “No comment.”

Those two words revealed just how little Joe Biden cared about the plight of the Hawaiian people, and the White House has desperately been trying to clean the mess. The administration has been pushing the narrative that it has been doing a fantastic job from the get-go.

On Monday, we were treated to a series of tweets and statements from the Biden administration, patting itself on the back for a job well done.

“Since the onset of the Maui wildfires, President Biden launched a whole-of-government effort to support residents and affected communities,” the White House claimed in a tweet. “Here’s how the Administration is working to help Maui rebuild and recover as quickly as possible.”

A separate tweet insisted that “The Biden-Harris Administration continues to work around the clock to support the people of Maui as they rebuild and recover.”

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton also insisted during a press gaggle on Air Force One, “It’s important to remember that the president has been there from day one.” It’s a view she thinks that residents of Maui need to believe too.

The same day that the White House was bragging about how it was doing such a wonderful job, Biden finally traveled to Maui — nearly two weeks after the devastation that caused billions in property damage, killed over 100 people, and left close to a thousand more missing.

Make no mistake about it; Biden’s visit has nothing to do with recovery efforts in Maui and everything to do with recovering Biden’s image. And it’s not working. Maui residents told the media they were upset that Biden took so long to visit the devastation and meet with those affected by the wildfires and that they didn’t want him to come anymore.

“It’s really affecting me because where’s the President?” Maui resident Ella Sable Tacderan lamented Saturday on CNN. “I mean, aren’t we Americans, too? We’re part of the United States. Why are we getting put in the back pocket? Why are we being ignored?”

“I don’t want him here,” Lahaina resident Jay Awan told the New York Post. “He’s just coming to Maui to look good in front of the cameras.”

Others have lamented the lack of federal support. Biden’s visit was ultimately not well-received. Residents were lining roads upon his arrival with signs reading “He’s too late,” “He should’ve been here much earlier,” and “Actions speak louder than words.”

The White House can make up any story that it wants, but the people of Hawaii see for themselves just how little the administration has done and how little Biden really cares about what’s going on. A visit won’t fix this. Doing now what they should have done all along won’t fix it either. The people of Hawaii saw Biden for who he really is, and what they saw wasn’t pretty.

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