Bidens are heckled by protesters during belated visit to Maui following devastating wildfires

August 23, 2023
Ben Marquis

President Joe Biden, who has been on vacation most of this month and previously uttered "no comment" when asked to respond to the deadly Maui wildfires that began nearly two weeks ago, finally paid a belated visit along with first lady Jill Biden to the devastatingly scorched Hawaiian island on Monday.

Not everybody was happy to see them, however, as numerous protesters gathered outside the airport and heckled Biden's motorcade with negative gestures, shouts, and signs displaying their opposition toward him, according to the Western Journal.

Primarily at issue was Biden's delay in visiting the site of the natural disaster that likely claimed hundreds of lives as well as a perceived lack of support for victims and insufficient resources to aid in the recovery effort.

Biden greeted by protesters at airport

A reporter for Hawaii News Now shared the "mixed" reaction from Maui residents to President Biden's arrival at the small airport on the Western side of the island, as the president and first lady were greeted by both protesters and some supporters.

She reported that the protesters held signs and shouted things like "He's too late," "He should’ve been here much earlier," and "Actions speak louder than words," among other things.

The reporter also detailed how Biden would first receive an aerial tour of the devastation -- something that former President George W. Bush was ruthlessly criticized for doing just a few days after 2005's Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana -- before meeting with local officials and some residents.

Maui residents are quite displeased

The New York Post reported that President Biden was greeted at the small Kapalua Airport in Maui by residents who either flipped up their middle fingers or gave a thumbs-down gesture as they shouted "Go home, Joe!" among other choice phrases after Air Force One had landed and as the presidential motorcade drove past.

In addition to the signs already mentioned by the Hawaiian reporter, the Post noted that other signs read "No comment" and "FJB," as well as others that questioned the timing of the visit or were critical of the $700 federal relief checks some residents received and viewed as paltry in comparison to the tens of billions in aid delivered to Ukraine over the past two years.

"Where has the president been?" Maui resident Dennis Mullen asked as he pointed out that the small airport had barely been used at all for the delivery of desperately needed relief and supplies.

"Any number of military aircraft, planes, and helicopters could have flown in here. To leave a town that was just devastated and shut down was just ridiculous. The runway wasn’t cratered," he said.

Mullen added, "On the west side of Maui, where neighborhoods had burned down, there was a desperate need and no one came to help."

President had to be pried away from vacation to come visit

The Post further noted that even some Democrats and supporters of the president were displeased by Biden's seemingly lackluster and "disrespectful" response to their near-existential crisis, as entire communities were completely destroyed, at least 114 people have been confirmed killed, and upward of 1,000 more individuals are still missing and presumed dead, including many children.

Nor were the protests against Biden confined to just the airport or motorcade route, as some residents posted anti-Biden signs on their homes or in their yards, including one home with a sign that read "Traitor Joe Must Go!" and a pair of American flags flown upside down, which is a signal for dire distress and extreme danger.

To be sure, residents will undoubtedly appreciate any and all assistance and relief they can get, but it is perfectly understandable why so many are so angry at perceived and actual delays in delivering aid and supplies, not to mention the fact that Biden, for all intents and purposes, had to be pried away from his weeks-long back-to-back vacations in Delaware and Nevada in order to pay a visit to the scene of the horrific disaster.

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