Biden and first lady Jill Biden to visit Hawaii to survey wildfire devastation

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden disembark Air Force One while traveling to visit families affected by devastation from recent flooding, as they arrive at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S., August 8, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden will travel to Maui on Monday where a wildfire has ravaged the island and killed more than 100 people.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden will meet with first responders, survivors and government officials and take stock of the damage, the White House said Wednesday.

“The president continues to marshal a whole-of-government response to the deadly Maui fires, and he has committed to delivering everything that the people of Hawaii need from the federal government as they recover from this disaster,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement announcing the trip.

Biden had faced criticism for not visiting the island sooner, but he has been in near daily contact with officials to determine when a visit could be timed so as not disrupt rescue and recovery efforts.

“My wife Jill and I are going to travel to Hawaii as soon as we can,” Biden said at an event in Wisconsin on Tuesday. “That’s what we’ve been talking to the governor about, but I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas, but I want to go and make sure we’ve got everything they need. I want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.”

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