Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas boasted that the Biden administration is being "culturally sensitive" in its response to the devastating Hawaii wildfires.
"We are working with experts so that we are culturally sensitive to the needs of individuals on the island," Mayorkas told MSNBC after he was asked about criticism that the administration's response to the disaster has been slow. President Joe Biden is visiting the state Monday, nearly two weeks after the fire began. He will tour the devastation for several hours before returning to Nevada in the evening.
At least 114 people are dead in Maui, making the disaster the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history. The toll could surge as authorities search the island for human remains, with nearly 1,000 people still missing.
Biden's FEMA head, Deanne Criswell, also is facing blowback for not giving clear answers as to how so many people remain missing.
"There's a lot of different reasons on why people are unaccounted for," Criswell told CNN.
The president himself has faced immense criticism for shrugging off questions about the wildfires. After he first addressed the disaster two weeks ago, Biden went four days without commenting on it again.
"No, not now," Biden on Thursday told a reporter who asked for details about his planned trip.