Residents of Maui welcomed President Joe Biden, who waited 13 days to visit the fire-ravaged island, with shouts of "Fuck you!"
As Biden's motorcade on Monday drove through Maui, protesters blasted the president's slow response to the wildfires that have killed hundreds on the small Hawaiian island.
"Wow, he's finally here!" one said. "Yeah, thanks for nothing!"
Multiple protesters joined in, shouting, "Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!"
Other Maui residents displayed signs that said Biden took long to visit, with one reading, "Traitor Joe Must Go!"
Biden arrived on Maui almost two weeks after the wildfires started. The fires, which were likely caused by a downed power line, have killed at least 115 people and left another 850 missing. After arrival, the president, who called the situation an "unimaginable travedy [sic]," joked, "That's some hot ground, man."
While Biden initially addressed the devastation after Hawaii officials signed an emergency declaration on Aug. 8, he then went days without mentioning the fires.
When a reporter on Aug. 13 tried to ask a beachgoing Biden about the "rising death toll in Maui," the president said, "No comment."
That lack of response has complicated White House and mainstream media efforts to depict empathy as Biden's "calling card." Biden has already hurt that image by never visiting East Palestine, Ohio, the Republican-voting town devastated by a chemical spill back in February.
One Maui resident appeared on CNN to rebuke Biden's muted reaction. "Where's the president?" Ella Sable Tacderan asked last week. "Aren't we Americans too? … We're part of the United States, but why are we not—why are we getting put in the back pocket? Why are we being ignored?"
Biden repeatedly appeared to nod off when others were talking about the tragedy. He did attempt to empathize with wildfire survivors, however, by saying that he has "a little sense … of what it's like to lose a home" because he once had a small fire in his kitchen.
The fire department that responded said the Biden kitchen fire was "insignificant" and "contained in 20 minutes," the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Biden had a different take. "I almost lost my wife, my '67 Corvette, and my cat," he said, laughing.