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McCarthy threatens Biden with congressional response over his handling of deadly Maui fires

 August 24, 2023

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA-20) expressed concerns on Wednesday regarding the Biden administration's response to the catastrophic Maui fires.

McCarthy is calling for a thorough investigation into the administration's management of the crisis, as Fox News reported.

Speaking at a press briefing in the territory of Rep. Brandon Williams (NY-22), McCarthy said, "We saw the devastation that happened in Maui… I'm very concerned about the response."

"We still have hundreds of individuals that are missing. I think there's going to have to be a congressional investigation into the response on Maui. How could you lose that many Americans?" he questioned.

Presidential Silence Amidst Crisis

McCarthy didn't hold back his criticism, spotlighting President Joe Biden's earlier silence on the wildfires when he was spotted at a Delaware beach.

"The president's response — had no comment. That's unacceptable," commented McCarthy.

The Republican leader expressed his plans to collaborate with committees to investigate the matter, ensuring such an oversight doesn't recur.

On Monday, President Biden, accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, toured Maui to witness the aftermath of the fire that claimed over 110 lives and left hundreds missing. This incident stands as the most fatal wildfire in recent U.S. history.

The winds from Hurricane Dora intensified the wildfires, which remain uncontrolled even after two weeks, the New York Post reported.

Maui's local authorities have faced criticism for not promptly activating emergency alerts or authorizing water release to combat the fires.

FEMA confirms the deployment of over 1,000 federal personnel in Maui following the fires that ignited on Aug. 8.

Biden's visit was followed by criticism targeting his administration for what some saw as a tardy response to the catastrophe.

Biden's Controversial Remarks

Biden's journey to Maui also was not without controversy. Detractors found fault in his attempt to liken the Maui wildfires' magnitude to a minor fire incident that occurred in his Delaware residence in 2004.

A previous Associated Press piece described an event as a "small fire that was contained to the kitchen."

Attempting to find common ground with the victims, Biden reminisced in Maui, "I don't want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it was like to lose a home."

He added, "Years ago now, 15 years, I was in Washington doing 'Meet the Press'…lightning struck at home on a little lake outside the home, not a lake, a big pond. It hit the wire and came up underneath our home."

Elaborating further, Biden recounted, "To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my '67 Corvette, and my cat."