- President Joe Biden faces a chilly welcome in Maui with residents showing explicit displeasure, some even resorting to derogatory chants.
- The president’s visit comes in the wake of the Lahaina fire tragedy which has led to 115 deaths and left around 800 people unaccounted for.
- Hawaiian Electric, a major state utility, is under scrutiny, with allegations pointing towards its old infrastructure as a potential fire risk.
In what appeared as a cold welcome, residents of Maui displayed their palpable displeasure towards President Joe Biden upon his arrival.
Many locals, clearly disgruntled by the president’s presence, made their sentiments clear with a one-finger salute and fervent chants of “f*** Joe Biden” as his motorcade passed by.
The backdrop for this reception was a tragic one.
President Biden was visiting the area after the historic beach town of Lahaina witnessed a catastrophic fire.
Boosted by intense wind gusts, the flames engulfed large areas in no time, prompting a number of inhabitants to dive into the ocean as their last resort.
The fire’s aftermath has been heart-wrenching, with 115 reported deaths and about 800 individuals still missing.
While there were sporadic instances of Maui residents cheering for Biden’s motorcade, which comprised numerous vehicles, a significant number expressed their strong objections to his approach to the recent tragedy, reports the Associated Press.
Various clips on social media platforms have highlighted the Maui residents’ indignation towards Biden.
One particular footage showcased a group ardently chanting “f*** Joe Biden” as both the president and the first lady traversed a local street.
(Warning: graphic language)
Another video captured locals confronting the president’s motorcade with the middle finger and vocalizing their critiques.
One individual remarked, “Here he comes after 13 days.”
Another voiced their exasperation, stating, “Wow, he’s finally here. Wow, yeah, thanks for nothing.”
Yet another resident was so irate that they placed a sign reading “Traitor Joe Must Go” right on their lawn.
Trying to strike a chord with the aggrieved islanders, Biden brought up a personal story. He reminisced about an incident where his own residence suffered fire damage.
“I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it’s like to lose a home,” he began.
Making a light-hearted jest, he added, “To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ’67 Corvette, and my cat.”
President Biden offered assurances to the Maui residents, committing that the federal government would remain by their side during the recovery process and emphasized that rebuilding would be carried out according to the wishes of the Maui people.
Yet amidst this tragedy, Hawaiian Electric, the principal utility that powers almost 95% of the state, has come under close examination.
Discussions between the company and California’s PG&E are underway, given PG&E’s past experiences post the devastating 2018 Camp Fire.
Lawsuits have pointed fingers at Hawaiian Electric, blaming its dated and deteriorating infrastructure as a significant fire hazard.
The utility has vowed to conduct an internal investigation into the fire’s origins and to collaborate closely with Hawaii’s attorney general.
Reflecting on this, Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee Kimura stated, “We will be doing our own investigation. The state will be doing an investigation. We will cooperate fully in that. I think we all believe it’s important to understand what happened, and I think we all believe it’s important to make sure it never happens again.”
We want to know what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments below.