MILWAUKEE, WI — Amid criticism over his response to the Maui wildfires, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he and his wife Jill Biden will visit Hawaii “as soon as we can” as the recovery efforts continue.
Biden addressed the wildfires while making remarks on his economy in Milwaukee.
“I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas,” Biden said. “But I want to go and make sure we got everything they need. I want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.”
“Imagine being a mom or dad wondering where your child is. Imagine being a husband or wife or mother or father,” he added. “It’s really tough stuff.”
The President also announced federal aid to Hawaii, including FEMA’s approvals for 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, and 10,000 blankets.
“You always hear this phrase, and I’ve been to so many disasters in my career, it’s almost hollow. Our prayers, our thoughts, and prayers are with the people of Hawaii,” Biden said. “And not just our prayers. Every asset, every asset they need will be there for them.”
“We will be there in Maui as long as it takes,” he added.
The White House said Biden spoke to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell and Gov. Green aboard Air Force One.
“I reassured the Governor that Hawai’i will continue to have everything it needs from the federal government, and directed Administrator Criswell to keep surging resources and personnel as long as it takes,” Biden said in a tweet.
Biden was in Milwaukee to tout his administration’s accomplishments on the economy and just one day shy of the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, a signature part of Biden’s economic agenda.
“It’s really kind of basic: we just decided to invest in America again,” Biden said. “That’s what it’s all about.”