House Oversight Committee chair James Comer has announced plans to investigate President Joe Biden over his handling of the wildfires in Maui.
“The response by federal, state, and local officials to the catastrophic wildfire in Maui raises serious questions, and Americans, especially those impacted by this tragedy, deserve answers,” he said in a statement released Tuesday to the Washington Examiner.
“As recovery efforts continue, the House Oversight Committee has a responsibility to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and effectively. To minimize the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars, the Oversight Committee will examine the federal government’s response in Maui and work with other committees of jurisdiction to ensure accountability,” he added.
As previously reported, the president was on vacation when the wildfire first erupted. Except instead of immediately returning to work, he waited a whopping 13 days before visiting Maui. Afterward, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested an investigation may be necessary.
“I’m very concerned about the response [from the president]. How could you lose that many Americans in today’s age? I’m going to be working with committees to investigate what went on so this never happens again,” he last week.
The primary criticism Republicans have had of the president is his focus on funding Ukraine versus funding domestic needs:
FEMA is underfunded by $4 BILLION, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is only funded $1 per Georgian, Hawaii’s Lahaina is in desperate need of help from devastating fire killing 50+ people, and America is broke.
Biden wants to send another $24 BILLION to Ukraine.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) August 11, 2023
Joe Biden offered a one-time $700 payment for those affected by the devastating fires in Hawaii.
This came the same day the US authorized $200 million more for Ukraine.
Biden cares more about funding the war in Ukraine than providing relief for his own country.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) August 17, 2023
President Biden completely ignored the people of East Palestine.
Now, he’s giving the people of Maui the same treatment.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 17, 2023
Even HuffPost, a left-wing, pro-Biden site, has admitted “Maui residents have certainly expressed frustration and anger at the pace of the local, state and federal governments’ response to the disastrous fires.”
And even NBC News, another zealously pro-Biden site/network, has admitted that the Biden’s initial response to the Maui disaster was unsatisfactory.
“While Maui counted its dead Sunday, President Joe Biden sat on the beach in Delaware, rode his bicycle and said little about the deadliest wildfire to hit the U.S. in a century,” the network reported earlier this month.
“Biden first delivered remarks last Thursday about the catastrophic fire in Hawaii. The next day, his son became the subject of a federal special counsel investigation. And since then, Biden has said virtually nothing to the media,” the site added.
Former President Donald Trump also took note of the president’s silence.
“It is a disgraceful thing that Joe Biden refuses to help or comment on the tragedy in Maui,” he said in a video message shared to Twitter:
Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Devastating Maui Wildfires pic.twitter.com/ReHhmhfYj6
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 14, 2023
Meanwhile, The New York Times noted in a report that affected Maui residents were receiving more help from volunteers than from the federal government: “Days after the wildfire that destroyed Lahaina, those staying nearby say private volunteers have served as far more of a lifeline than federal and local agencies.”
Nevertheless, despite all this evidence against the federal government, the administration remains stubbornly committed to the claim that all is on the up and up.
“We won’t be lectured by Republican officials in Washington who are doubling down on denial of the climate crisis that is devastating red and blue states, who attempted to slash the wildfire response budget, and who defended the Trump administration cutting Puerto Rico off from hurricane relief,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
Yet even as the death toll was rising, the president reportedly flew to the battleground state of Wisconsin to brag about his fake infrastructure bill (that was in fact a climate change bill in disguise).
The Republican National Committee hasn’t been taking the president’s inaction lying down. About a week ago, they emailed out a picture of him sitting on a beach chair in Delaware while “Hawaiians are left to fend for themselves.”
Doug Heye, a former RNC official, said the president’s silence was “surprising” and disappointing,” especially since he’d “always been portrayed as somebody who would be a great consoler-in-chief.”
“And, you know, here we have the deadliest wildfire in our nation’s history, and he’s been silent,” Heye added.
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