Bush-era FEMA Director Michael “Brownie” Brown is exceedingly unimpressed with President Biden’s inadequate mobilization of emergency resources in the wake of the horrendous Maui wildfire.
(Video Credit: NewsNation)
At least 106 have officially died as a result of the fire with over 1,000 missing and untold damage done to the city of Lahaina on Maui, which was pretty much burned to the ground.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, US Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, and US Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman are overseeing the response as Democrats crow that Biden is doing a fantastic job because he declared it a disaster and allegedly deployed almost 500 federal personnel to the island.
It took Biden a full week after the tragedy to make public comments concerning the disaster. He was originally going to Lake Tahoe for a week starting Friday, but after a massive outcry, the president and first lady will head to Maui on Monday.
Brown, who was the FEMA director during Hurricane Katrina, appeared on Thursday night’s edition of NewsNation’s “On Balance” with host Leland Vittert. He asserted that he found it “infuriating” that Biden wasn’t “working the phones” over the weekend.
Jill and I will travel to Maui on Monday, August 21 to meet with first responders, survivors, and federal, state, and local officials.
I remain committed to delivering everything the people of Hawai’i need as they recover from this disaster.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 16, 2023
“Do you see and you know better than anybody, because you’ve been there, you were asking for those resources. Do you see the awesome power of the federal government being mobilized over the weekend to help the folks in Maui?” Vittert asked Brown.
“No. And again, you know, I’m a little reticent, reticent to criticize because I know what it’s to be, what it’s like to be on the end of that criticism. But what I’ve learned so far as we have urban search and rescue, urban search and rescue team task force from, I think, Indiana, California, Washington. There may be a few others. But, you know, on 9/11 and not to compare this to 9/11 necessarily, but we had every single urban search and rescue team at either Ground Zero or at the Pentagon,” Brown responded.
“And I’ve heard that, well, the cadaver dogs and the rescue dogs have to be you know, they have to rest and they have to take time out, which they absolutely do. I remember throwing tennis balls for dogs that were resting after not finding any bodies inside the Pentagon. But we should have every available dog. If only 28% or 25%, whatever the figure is, has actually been searched? They need more dogs and they should be there,” he asserted.
Are you sure you’re done with all your vacationing for the week, and have rested up enough to go? I mean, no rush – they’ve lost everything.
— Sara Rose (@saras76) August 16, 2023
Brown went on to address the lack of actual resources being deployed and Biden’s failed response. He should know. Brown was criticized by former President Bush for arriving three days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
Bush sarcastically told Brown, “Brownie you’re doing a heck of a job.” Brown resigned ten days later.
Anyone else remember when GWB was criticized for his handling of Hurricane Katrina, especially when he said, arriving in New Orleans three days after the storm, “Brownie [FEMA Director, Michael Brown] you’re doing a heck of a job.” This led to Brown’s resignation 10 days later. https://t.co/cWraSAFgKa
— R.Volt24 (@rvolt24) August 14, 2023
“I also heard the state senator talk about how they’re not getting the resources, you know, what they need to do? They need to take a C5A, be it at the time we used to call them MERS mobile emergency response system. And they need to take some of those units, put on a C5A somehow, if they have to use a Chinook helicopter, whatever, get those on Maui, establish a command post on Maui, not Honolulu,” Brown emphatically stated.
“And then when I heard the president talk about he has been talking to the governor about when he should travel? No, you should be talking to the governor about what do you need? Or better yet. The right question is, ‘Governor, what are you not getting?’ And then turn to your FEMA director and say the governor tells me he’s not getting this. Well, the FEMA director should already know this, but that’s the conversations that should be taking place. I just find it infuriating,” he commented.
Vittert pointed out that after the catastrophe of Katrina, we should be better equipped to respond to an emergency like this.
“Yeah. I think it’s, in fact, more infuriating because we know this playbook, right? Conceivably after Katrina, we should, we should have learned from it and understood how sometimes all of a sudden, something that appears to be sad but under control turns into devastating and out of control,” Vittert noted.
(Video Credit: 9NEWS)
“…I still can’t get out of my mind. The video of people in the water needing rescue, Americans jumping into the water just like it undoes me. But this would be my question: over the weekend. I’m wondering what the president could have been doing? Because the White House says, you know, he can monitor things from everywhere. What could he have been doing that you didn’t see him doing?” he added.
Brown pummeled Biden for not being more personally involved after the devastation in Maui.
“He could have been working the phones. He could have been working the phones to every person in Hawaii. You’ve got a state homeland security director. You probably have an emergency manager. You’ve got the governor. You’ve got state senators,” Brown contended.
“He should be on the phone to every single one of those. Finding out from them what’s going on. And the other thing that’s driving me nuts is you’ve got to be on the ground in order to actually manage a disaster. You have got to be in the middle of that disaster because things go wrong. That’s what we call them, disasters. So you’ve got to have a command unit in the disaster area,” he charged.
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