President Joe Biden Slammed After Allegedly Refusing to Comment on Devastating Hawaii Wildfires: 'Offer Some Empathy'

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Aug. 15 2023, Published 1:24 p.m. ET

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Former Hawaii representative Mark Kaniela Ing wasn't pleased after it was reported that President Joe Biden refused to comment on the rapidly increasing death toll caused by the Maui wildfires.

Earlier this week, White House correspondent Justin Sink tweeted that the 80-year-old recently replied, "no comment," after being asked about the ongoing tragedy in Hawaii. Kaniela Ing later took to social media to slam President Biden for his lack of empathy.

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"I campaigned for you," the Democrat wrote in a since-deleted post. "Now, when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors. This?"

Kaniela Ing later elaborated on his feelings about Biden's seemingly cold response in a Monday, August 14, interview, calling out the POTUS for not taking a moment to relay a plan of action.

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"If you do the kind of work I do, when the wave crests, you’ve got to paddle hardest," he told the outlet. "When tragedies like this occur, it's shocking to see people just conducting business as usual. … On the one hand, you don't want everyone to be in a perpetual somber mood, but on the other hand, how can you just carry on like that?"

"I think everyone deserves some time to take care of themselves, wind down, but, as someone in leadership role, you need to be ready any moment to offer some empathy and solace and comfort to people that are facing a lot of trauma right now," he added.

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Kaniela Ing then explained that he deleted his original social media message because he wasn't certain if Biden's full response had been properly reported, but clarified that regardless of whether it was truly as "dismissive" as it initially sounded, he admitted that it was still "quite disappointing."

"I would expect more," he continued. "He should be talking about what he’s done and what he will do. The talking and offering words of solace and comfort, great. I'm not too hung up on that, to be honest. What I'm looking for is action."

"Declare a climate emergency. Deny fossil fuel permits, and invest substantial federal funds to the tune of $1 trillion a year," he explained, referring to potential options for how to keep tragedies like this from happening. "Hawaii came out for Biden in a big way, and I think President Biden and anyone running for president right now needs to address this head on, not just in terms of immediate relief, but in longer term recovery and accountability."

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Following Kaniela Ing's firmly worded statements, the White House released one of their own claiming President Biden has been leading a "whole-of-government response to the wildfires" from the beginning and has been keeping himself updated on the situation daily.

"Yesterday he received two updates from FEMA Administrator Criswell while she was on the ground," the statement read. "As Governor Green stressed yesterday, within six hours of receiving Hawaii’s request, President Biden signed a Major Disaster Declaration and ordered all available federal resources in the state to help with the response. Governor Green described this as having provided 'amazing support for recovery.' Senator Hirono also thanked President Biden for the immediate support federal agencies have delivered for the residents of Hawaii, as has Senator Schatz."

Fox News Digital reported the interview with Kaniela Ing.


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