There have been plenty of times that politicians have offered the two-word “No Comment” response to reporters. However, critics of President Joe Biden have suggested that it was the wrong choice of words when questioned about the recent wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, where at least 96 people have been confirmed killed.
Joe Biden, who spent Sunday afternoon at the seaside in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sunning and riding his bike, was asked about the death toll, to which he simply responded, “No comment” before leaving according to Bloomberg White House Correspondent Justin Sink.
Odd Response to Natural Disaster
Fires broke out near the town of Lahaina on Hawaii’s Maui Island on Tuesday morning. In the hours before the wildfires began, there had been warnings about high winds but those were widely dismissed by the county and other agencies. As a result, sirens that could have warned the entire population of approaching flames were never sounded, and many residents and visitors relied on confusing social media posts about the impending dangers.
The fire spread faster than warnings, and there were reports of individuals literally jumping into the ocean to escape the flames.
In total, more than 2,700 structures were destroyed in Lahaina and ABC News reported that upwards of $5.6 billion in property values have been lost. This weekend, the death toll around Lahaina climbed to 96, while authorities warned that the effort to find and identify the dead was still in its early stages. The blaze is already the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century – since the 1918 Cloquet fire in Minnesota and Wisconsin that killed 453 people.
“I will tell you this, as a physician, it is a harrowing sight in Maui,” Hawaii Governor Josh Green said on Sunday. “When those providers, the police and this division, do come across scenes in houses or businesses it is very difficult for them because they know, ultimately, they will be sharing with our people that there have been more fatalities. I do expect the numbers to rise.”
Where Was The Famous Biden Empathy?
This is not the first time that President Biden has come under fire for appearing uncaring. Critics compared his “No Comment” response to his reaction to the toxic spill following a train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this year.
In addition, Biden took time to joke about his love of ice cream before addressing the tragic school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee in March. In that case, it had been noted that many of his remarks were written in advance, but Biden seemed unwilling – or unable say his critics – to pivot and address the shooting without the jokes.
On Sunday, he simply failed to offer any thoughts about the loss of life in Hawaii.
Joe Biden Did Respond to Maui – Briefly Last Week
It is also true that Biden had declared a major disaster on Maui, and pledged a federal response that “anyone who’s lost a loved one, or whose home has been damaged or destroyed, is going to get help immediately.”
Yet, many in the mainstream media were still shocked by Biden’s empathy – or lack of it – on Sunday. Moreover, Biden’s trip to the beach this weekend had come just a week after his week-long summer vacation.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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