Bidens heading to Hawaii Monday to see damage from deadly wildfires

More than a hundred people have died and thousands more have been displaced.
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 1:27 PM AKDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Hawaii Monday to see the damage from the deadly wildfires on Maui.

The White House said the Bidens will meet with first responders, survivors, as well as federal, state, and local officials.

“So, he can meet with the governor and see firsthand just really the tragic impact that this this fire has had on these communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell who will be traveling with the president.

So far, more than a hundred people have died and thousands more have been displaced since fires scorched more than 2100 acres on the island of Maui.

On Tuesday, the president said, “Every asset they need will be there for them. And we’ll be there in Maui as long as it takes.”

President Biden has signed a federal disaster declaration to give Hawaii initial aid. The White House said the federal government will also repay Hawaii to repair and rebuild Maui. The president is also calling on Congress to give the state an additional $13 billion.

“We are going to need continuity of support and effort and that is what I expect the president to understand when he comes to see for himself on Monday,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

Yet, the president has been criticized by Republicans for not being prepared to deal with the fires and for not speaking up immediately about the tragedy.

On social media, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote, “Joe Biden: Send more billions to Ukraine! No comment for Maui.”

Criswell said that President Biden did not want to go to Hawaii right away because he did not want to disrupt the search and rescue efforts. She also added there will be plenty of time to analyze what contributed to the wildfires happening in the first place.