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Hawaii Democrat calls out Biden for response to Maui wildfires: 'I campaigned for you'
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Hawaii Democrat calls out Biden for response to Maui wildfires

Former Hawaii state Rep. Mark Kaniela Ing (D) called out President Joe Biden on Monday over his response to the devastating Maui wildfires.

On Sunday, Biden was accused of providing a "heartless" response to the devastation and staggering loss of life when, upon being asked about the fires after sitting for hours on Rehoboth beach, Biden simply told reporters, "No comment."

The response prompted Kaniela Ing to criticize Biden on X (formally known as Twitter), writing, "I campaigned for you. Now, when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors. This?" The Hawaii Democrat later deleted his social media post and nuanced his frustrations with the president in an interview with Fox News.

"When tragedies like this occur, it's shocking to see people just conducting business as usual," Kaniela Ing told the news outlet.

"On the one hand, you don't want everyone to be in a perpetual somber mood, but on the other hand, how can you just carry on like that?" he questioned. "I think everyone deserves some time to take care of themselves, wind down. But, as someone in leadership role, you need to be ready any moment to offer some empathy and solace and comfort to people that are facing a lot of trauma right now."

Not only was Biden's two-word response "quite disappointing," but Kaniela Ing said Biden's overall response to the tragedy is lacking what Hawaiians need most right now: action.

"He should be talking about what he’s done and what he will do," he told Fox News. "What I'm looking for is action."

The White House, meanwhile, insists the government will help Hawaii and its residents with the resources needed to recover from the wildfires. That aid includes a $700-per-household payment to residents impacted by the fires. The payment was announced on the same day the State Department said it was sending another $200 million in taxpayer dollars to Ukraine.

Whether Biden will visit Maui remains to be seen. He is slated to travel to Lake Tahoe this week, where he will stay for about a week. Vice President Kamala Harris previously said that neither she nor the president will visit Hawaii because they "don't want to distract" from recovery operations.

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