President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have decided that they will not pay a visit to Maui, following the devastating wildfires that have taken place there.
Harris said as much to reporters on Friday. The exchange was captured by C-SPAN.
Many are not convinced by the excuse Harris gave for not stopping in Maui.
The vice president claimed that she and Biden have decided not to go there because they "don’t want to distract" from the ongoing recovery and relief efforts that are taking place there.
In the video captured by C-SPAN, Harris claims that she and Biden are "deeply concerned about what is happening in Hawaii and in Maui."
Yet, after saying that she is "monitoring" the situation "closely" and "coordinating federal resources to swiftly get there," Harris, in response to a question from a reporter, made it clear that she and Biden will not be stopping there.
We don’t want to distract from the resources that need to go in to the victims of this tragedy, and, of course, the needs of the first responders have to be able to focus on that issue and not worry about focusing on us [because] we’re there.
The thing is, presidents and other public officials have been visiting the sites of natural disasters - like the one that has taken place in Maui - for decades. Were all of those visits distractions that detracted from relief efforts?
We'll leave it to you to judge the legitimacy of Harris's excuse.
Biden issued a federal disaster declaration for Maui on Thursday, according to the New York Times.
CNN reports, "The death toll from the Maui wildfires climbed to at least 93 Saturday as authorities work to identify the victims and sift through the burned communities of western Maui."
The outlet adds, "The fire is now the deadliest US wildfire in more than 100 years, according to research from the National Fire Protection Association."
At the time of this writing, firefighters continue to fight the ongoing fires as others continue to search for missing individuals. The situation is so bad that officials still do not know just how many people are actually missing.
To put things into perspective, only 3% of the fire zone has been searched by cadaver dogs, according to local authorities. It is estimated that there has been about $6 billion worth of damage from the wildfires.