‘Not Now’: Biden Blows Off Questions About Hawaii Visit Amid Criticism of Crisis Leadership

August 18, 2023

President Joe Biden on Thursday again shrugged off questions about the Hawaii wildfires amid criticism over his leadership during the disaster.

"No, not now," Biden told a reporter who asked for details about his planned Monday trip to Hawaii.

"I’m going to be leaving and I’ll be there on Monday," Biden added before walking away.

At least 111 people are dead in Maui, a toll that is expected to rise as authorities search the island for human remains with more than 1,000 people still missing. After he first addressed the disaster last week, Biden went four days without commenting on it again.

Biden faced widespread criticism for refusing to give remarks on the disaster while he was on a weekend beach vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

"No comment," Biden told reporters Sunday when asked about the wildfires.

Biden said earlier that day that "we're looking at it" when asked whether he would travel to Maui. The president also approved a major disaster declaration last week that allows federal funds and agencies to aid in the response.

Another official under fire is M. Kaleo Manuel, who was deputy director of the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management.

He is accused of withholding water from firefighters battling Maui's deadly wildfires. He said last year that the state should make access to water conditional on "conversations about equity."

Published under: Hawaii , Joe Biden