President Joe Biden was excoriated this week over what many regarded as a callous response to the deadly wildfires in Maui.
In what Newsweek called "an about-turn," the White House announced on Tuesday that First Lady Jill Biden will accompany the president on a trip to Maui next week.
"In Maui, the President and First Lady will be welcomed by state and local leaders to see first-hand the impacts of the wildfires and the devastating loss of life and land that has occurred on the island, as well as discuss the next steps in the recovery effort," Newsweek quoted a White House statement as reading.
"The President continues to marshal a whole-of-government response to the deadly Maui fires, and he has committed to delivering everything that the people of Hawaii need from the federal government as they recover from this disaster," the statement added.
That announcement came days after the president told a reporter he had "no comment" regarding Maui's rising death toll.
"Any comment on the rising death toll in Maui?"
BIDEN: "No. No comment." pic.twitter.com/oORpRuLUpz
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 14, 2023
The remark was slammed by many online, including former Trump advisor and conservative commentator Stephen L. Miller. He complained that Biden seemed more interested in vacationing than helping those who have been affected.
He just came back from a 14 day beach vacation. Spent 4 days in DC, now is back on the beach and has no comment for wildfires that wiped out entire communities. Just incredible stuff. https://t.co/eVJMXIG0bP
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 14, 2023
National Review contributor Pradheep J. Shanker spoke up as well, condemning Biden's response as "absolutely embarrassing."
Absolutely embarrassing. The largest wildfire tragedy in modern American history, and the President has nothing significant to say about it? https://t.co/ONZnwKpQke
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) August 14, 2023
Another point of contention emerged on Monday when he announced that Maui residents who have been displaced by the fires would only be offered a one-time payment of $700.
2. We're laser-focused on getting aid to survivors, including Critical Needs Assistance: a one-time $700 payment per household offering relief during an unimaginably difficult time.
We have staff on the ground dedicated to helping survivors navigate the registration process.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 14, 2023
The revelation came the same day that the Department of Defense announced another $200 million worth of assistance for Ukraine, leading some to question the Biden administration's priorities.
⚠️ Joe Biden Has Sent Over $113,000,000,000 to Ukraine, Which Has A Population of About 43,000,000. EQUALING MORE THAN $3,000 PER PERSON ⚠️
🚨 MEANWHILE, Joe Biden Has Sent Just $700 Per Person To Maui Fire Victims 🚨
WHY ARE U.S. CITIZENS TREATED WORSE THAN UKRAINIAN CITIZENS? pic.twitter.com/bpS4abbJ1P
— Matt Wallace (@MattWallace888) August 15, 2023