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President Joe Biden, who has reportedly spent over a year of his presidency on vacation, was recently lambasted for idling on a beach in Delaware while historic wildfires raged in Maui, Hawaii, claiming the lives of at least 106 people and torching over 2,100 acres.
When Biden finally returned to his post, he prompted outrage again, declining to comment on the tragedy.
On Tuesday, the Democratic octogenarian broke his silence on Maui, but appeared at times unable to name the island on the minds and lips of many Americans, including the former Democratic state representative official who has called him out despite having previously campaigned for him.
Speaking to a crowd of roughly 150 workers and supporters at the Ingeteam Inc. electrical engineering factory in Milwaukee, Biden focused primarily on hyping his so-called "Bidenomics" plan, claiming that it was "working," notwithstanding rising inflation, dwindling hourly earnings, failing banks, runaway spending, and rising mortgage rates.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel indicated that the visit was of strategic importance, as Biden wanted to set the tone ahead of the GOP presidential primary debate in Milwaukee on Aug. 23.
When Biden came around to discussing the Hawaii wildfires, he prefaced his remarks with an apology for going over time with his speech.
With the aid of teleprompters, he initially invoked Maui by name, indicating that 500 federal personnel had been deployed to the island to "help communities and survivors get back on their feet." However, in the 44-minute speech, he would only speak the name "Maui" once more.
After remarking upon the damage done and the misery left in the wake of the fires, Biden indicated that he and Jill Biden would soon be traveling to Hawaii, then proceeded to detail the efforts of the Coast Guard and Navy to support search and rescue operations.
The Daily Mail reported that Biden appeared to struggle to name Maui, stating, "The Army helicopters helped fire suppression efforts on the Big Island because there's still some burning on the Big Island — not the one that, not the one where you see on television all the time."
Biden's seeming memory lapse regarding the American region burning under his watch does not appear to have prompted nearly as much outrage as his refusal to speak about the tragedy for four days or his offer of a one-time payment of $700 per household in emergency aid to victims of the wildfires, which Newsweek reported critics have set in contrast to the billions of dollars in aid sent to foreign nations.
The White House has intimated that its actions speak more loudly than the words Biden can recall, citing the provision of 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots, and 10,000 blankets by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to victims of the wildfires, along with the response efforts by the Coast Guard, the Navy's Third Fleet, and the Marines, reported NBC News.
While the Biden administration has taken action, residents on the "Big Island" have indicated that volunteers have provided for more support than the government, according to a New York Times report.
Concerning criticism of Biden's response to the tragedy, White House spokesman Andrew Bates stated, "We won't be lectured by Republican officials in Washington who are doubling denial of the climate crisis that is devastating red and blue states."
Various other Democrats have insinuated or claimed outright that the specter of anthropogenic climate change is responsible for the fires, whereas the Times has indicated the unchecked weeds and other highly flammable invasive plants that took over Hawaii's derelict farms predisposed the state to burn.
With the Wisconsin speech and double mention of Maui behind him, Biden is reportedly headed to Lake Tahoe for a week-long vacation.
President Biden vows Hawaii will have 'everything it needs' for tackling wildfiresyoutu.be
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.