After more than a week of avoiding the deadly wildfires in Maui, President Biden took a break from his Lake Tahoe vacation to fly to Hawaii with the First Lady to tour the damage in Mauhi, NBC News reported.
The president faced harsh criticism last week after he offered a callous “No comment” response to a Bloomberg reporter’s question on the rising death toll in what has become the deadliest wildfire in modern American history.
When the Bidens finally arrived in Maui on Monday, they were greeted with anger by some of the residents, the New York Post reported.
The president’s motorcade was met by protesters chanting “Go home Joe!” and holding signs like “FJB” (AKA “F*ck Joe Biden”), “Action Speaks Louder than Words,” and “No Comment.”
CBS News spoke with some Maui residents who expressed frustration that the president had not visited the island sooner.
The president and first lady arrived in Lahaina, the town where as many as 850 people are still missing, and toured the fire damage. During remarks while honoring the dead, Biden made the tragedy about himself, recounting the deaths of his wife and baby daughter more than 50 years ago.
Later, while meeting with community leaders in Lahaina, Biden chose to once again recount the small kitchen fire that occurred in his Wilmington home in 2004.
The president said in his brief remarks that the federal government would remain in Maui for as long as needed. He vowed that the government would be “respectful” of their wishes, traditions, and the “meaning” of their sacred ground.
According to Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, by Sunday, the death toll had risen to 114. Only 27 of those have been identified.
Upon leaving Hawaii, the president and first lady returned to Lake Tahoe to continue their vacation.