OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
President Joe Biden did not get the reception he may have planned for when he traveled to Maui on Monday, nearly two weeks after the country’s deadliest wildfire in history.
One sign in front of a residence adorned with American flags flying upside down read, “Traitor Joe Must Go!” according to a video posted online.
And upside-down flag is universally recognized as a distress signal.
According to The New York Times, another resident who was asked about Biden’s tardy visit borrowed from the president’s own initial response as news was pouring in that dozens were dying in the flames earlier this month: “No comment.”
Others stood on the side of a highway as Biden’s motorcade drove past and yelled obscenities at him.
“F**K YOU!” they yelled while giving Biden the middle finger, noting it took him 13 days to get there.
NEW: Maui residents prepare for President Biden's arrival: pic.twitter.com/tJo14eXkwP
— Tony Kinnett (@TheTonus) August 21, 2023
'F*CK YOU!' Maui residents TORCH Joe Biden after he finally shows his face 13 DAYS after deadly wildfires. And offering residents 700 bucks while Ukraine gets tens of billions. pic.twitter.com/53cqAraP9N
— USA Features Media (@UsaFeatures) August 22, 2023
A volunteer named Eddy Garcia mocked Biden’s visit as he handed out fruit to residents made homeless by the fire: “The Biden visit was a public relations tactic.”
“They failed us on every level,” he said, addressing the state and federal government’s responses to the fires. “Their red tape, their bureaucracy.”
“He really needs to look at this rubble and see this was no ordinary fire,” added resident Pearl Patterson, according to the Times.
Another resident noted that Hawaiians are not particularly “political,” but Biden’s outward lack of empathy has changed the dynamic.
“We’re not very political people. You know? We really don’t go one way or the other, but Biden has really failed us. When something like this, one of the worst disasters in U.S. history happens — he hasn’t been out here, and it’s been two weeks on Tuesday,” Mike Cicchino told NewsNation.
He then asked: “What kind of president does that?”
On that note, former President Donald Trump delivered a message of empathy to the residents of the Hawaiian island while rapping Biden for his “no comment” response.
In a video released last week, Trump said he “would like to express my sympathy and warmest regards to the people of Hawaii, and specifically all of those who have been so gravely and irreparably hurt by the tragedy of the wildfires in Maui, something the likes of which have seldom been seen anywhere at any time.”
“The death caused by this catastrophic event will be far worse than ever expected now that houses and cars and other areas are being inspected,” he continued. “The sad thing is it should never have happened. Our government was not prepared.”
He went on to blast Democratic Gov. Josh Green for blaming the fire on “climate change” while “wanting to do nothing” but use the horrific tragedy as an excuse to propagandize about the environment.
“When asked about it today, as he was getting into a car — perhaps coming home from the beach, where he has been spending a great deal of time — Crooked Joe Biden, the most incompetent president in the history of our country, with a laugh and a smile said he had no comment on the death and the tragedy,” Trump said.
“To say no comment is oftentimes fine — but to be smiling when you say it, especially against such a tragedy as this, is absolutely horrible and unacceptable.”
Trump went on to note that Biden has a history of this kind of dismissive behavior after tragedies.
“It is a disgraceful thing that Joe Biden refuses to help or comment on the tragedy in Maui just as he refused to help or comment on the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, for a very, very long time,” he continued.
“In any event, hopefully, everyone will be able to pull together so that a horrible situation does not get even worse,” Trump concluded. “To the families affected, I give you my love and sympathy. Nothing can ever replace your loved ones. But you will always have the memories and will feel their great love surrounding and embracing you. Together, we will continue to carry their legacy forward and I love you all very much.”
Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Devastating Maui Wildfires pic.twitter.com/ReHhmhfYj6
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 14, 2023
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the death toll sits at 114, but that number is expected to rise because there are reportedly hundreds of people still missing.