Residents of the Hawaiian island of Maui who are recovering from the ravages of a wildfire expressed their discontent over Joe Biden’s upcoming visit according to the Post Millennial. Jay Awan, a 45-year-old resident, said, “I don’t want him here. He’s just coming to Maui to look good in front of the cameras.”
“It’s like a f*cking warzone here…Maui’s never going to be the same. Lahaina’s [a village on the island] never going to be the same. They’re going to put resorts up all along here — Lahaina is going to lose its character as an old whaling village. We can’t get the historical sites back,” Awan continued.
Mr. Awan was not the only person from Lahaina to express discomfort over the federal response to their island’s tragedy. Peter Friedgen, a 66-year-old guitarist, commented, “It’s a waiting game now for someone to show up — the government, insurers. I’ve just been down the beach, waiting for people to get into town.”
Kristi Bowman, a 60-year-old accountant, told the outlet that the only value she saw in the upcoming visit was the potential publicity it would bring of the devastation. Kristi emphasized that “we haven’t had federal support. We’ve had local support, not federal.”
The accountant also brushed off Biden’s proposal for $700 to be granted to affected residents as part of a one-time relief payment plan. She said, “I filed an application for somebody for disaster funding and it already got denied, saying they didn’t have proof from the insurance company over how much their losses were — but there’s no possible way to get that information right now.”
It has certainly not helped President Biden that his response to the tragedy was a “no comment” remark to the press while he was on vacation. The optics were further damaged when he took yet another vacation in the aftermath of this tragedy and did not comment on questions surrounding Maui. On Tuesday, when he did break his no-comment rule, he appeared to forget the name of the island in his speech and referenced it as “the one where you see on television all of the time.”
At least 100 persons in Maui were killed due to the wildfires. Mr. Trump, the Republican frontrunner, offered his condolences to the victims of the wildfire and also shared his concerns over the shortcomings of the federal response to the tragedy. Politically speaking, Hawaii is a Democratic stronghold and has only ever voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1972 and 1984. In 2020 it was a state that slightly drifted toward the Republican party given that Trump managed to increase his share of the vote from 30 percent to 34 percent.