Residents of Maui condemn Biden's 'tone-deaf' remarks

August 23, 2023

During an appearance on "Fox & Friends First" on Tuesday, residents of Lahaina, Maui, criticized President Biden's remarks during his visit to the island on Monday, following the devastation caused by deadly wildfires earlier this month. 

One resident referred to some of Biden's language as "tone-deaf," while another referred to the visit as a "multimillion-dollar photo-op," as Fox News reported.

Biden likened the raging fires to a fire that broke out at his Delaware home 15 years ago, recounting a narrative in which he said the fire "destroyed a significant portion" of his home.

Biden's Comments

"I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it was like to lose a home," Biden said.

"Years ago now, 15 years, I was in Washington doing ‘Meet the Press’ … lightning struck at home on a little lake outside the home, not a lake, a big pond. It hit the wire and came up underneath our home into the … air condition ducts."

"To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my '67 Corvette and my cat," he said.

Nonetheless, according to a 2004 Associated Press report archived by LexisNexis, lightning struck the residence, igniting a "small fire that was contained to the kitchen."

Response to Story

"I think it was a little bit tone-deaf," Maui resident Amanda Cassidy said of Biden's comments from Monday.

"However, I can understand how he was trying to meet us somewhere and say, ‘I understand,’ but unfortunately that is nothing that compares to what happened to our community, our beautiful little town and the families of children that were lost and disabled and the elderly. I mean, a car and your kitchen is kind of just a little sad to hear …"

"I think people really want to see you show up for us and provide an eighth of what you're giving to Ukraine. It's outrageous. Lahaina is so hurt right now and that was tone-deaf."

In addition to Cassidy, another Maui resident, Etan Krupnick, joined "Fox & Friends First" on Tuesday and criticized the president for using the visit as a "photo-op" when the money could have been used more effectively.

"The [community's] anger is normal, you know, [it was a] multimillion-dollar photo op," he told co-host Carley Shimkus.

"We could've used that money directly to Lahaina, to house more of the families for a longer stay because the rebuild of their homes isn't going to take three months … it's going to be about at least six months just to clean up the area, and we're still looking for family and friends that are still lost, and we're going to mourn them. And it's just it's a huge mess right now."

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