Biden’s Controversial Comparison: Locals Condemn Maui Fires Remark as Insensitive

 Biden’s Controversial Comparison: Locals Condemn Maui Fires Remark as Insensitive

(Photo: Mandel Ngan / Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has drawn criticism for comparing the devastating fires in western Maui to a personal experience involving a kitchen fire that nearly consumed his 1967 Corvette. This comparison has sparked outrage among locals, who argue that it diminishes the gravity of the disaster, which has likely claimed over a thousand lives and caused billions of dollars in damage to local businesses, families, and Lahaina residents.

Jill and I know what it’s like to lose a home. Years ago now, 15 years ago, I was in Washington doing “Meet the Press.” It was a sunny Sunday.

Lightning struck at home, on a little lake that’s outside of our home—like a big pond, and hit a wire that came up underneath our home into the heating ducts and air conditioning ducts.

To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ‘67 Corvette, and my cat.

A restaurant owner in Kihei, Maui, expressed their dismay, stating, “This is the most despicable thing this president has ever said. How do you compare almost losing your Corvette to the children burned in their homes?”

During President Biden’s visit to Maui, he landed at 11 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time, attended a public speaking event outside of Lahaina, walked through charred properties that locals are still prohibited from accessing, and departed just six hours later.

There are no words in response to something like that. There’s a thousand people still missing on this island, business owners who want people to come back, and who is going to come to a secluded island with people still missing?

The community members have rallied together and have taken care of each other. It was several days before [the feds] came and helped. They shut down a road for no good reason except they didn’t want people trampling over [rescue and search] sites.

Nobody understands that unless they’re here.

Leslie Santos, a retired university administrator and native of Maui, questioned how a leader could exhibit such insensitivity and a lack of basic human compassion.

This incident is not the first time President Biden has faced backlash for inappropriately inserting unrelated personal stories into discussions of tragedy. He previously compared his son Beau’s death from cancer to the violent deaths of U.S. servicemen during the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which upset Gold Star families who lost loved ones in the military.

The lack of connection, the lack of real emotion. Is Biden even there? The “no comment,” situation—how dare he? He could have said “Thoughts and prayers,” at least.

Especially when it’s a historical fire, the largest fire in recent American history and you said “no comment”  then went back to bicycling for hours.

[His trip to Maui] just seemed like a photo op to me.

Despite the criticism, the White House has not issued a statement to correct, apologize for, or provide additional context for the president’s remarks.

Related post