Joe Biden on Tuesday appeared to forget the name Maui, referring to the island in a speech in Milwaukee as ‘the one where you see on television all the time.’
As the death toll rose to 106 as rescuers combed the rubble in Lahaina, Hawaii, the president told the crowd that there were still fires on the Big Island – also known as Hawaii.
He pointed out the fires were blazing on the Big Island, not Maui, but appeared to struggle to name Maui.
‘The Army helicopters helped fire suppression efforts on the Big Island because there’s still some burning on the Big Island — not the one that, not the one where you see on television all the time,’ he said.
Biden, who was quick to approve a Federal Emergency, but who has been criticized by Republicans for not yet traveling to the devastated island, said he and his wife intended to visit soon.
‘My wife Jill and I are going to travel to Hawaii as soon as we can,’ he said.
‘That’s what I’ve been talking to the governor about.
‘I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas. But I want to go make sure we got everything they need. Want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.’
On Sunday, he added to anger by replying ‘no comment’ when asked, after spending two hours at the beach in Delaware, for his reaction to the tragedy.
Kaniela Ing, a Democratic former member of Hawaii’s state legislature, said he was not satisfied by the Biden administration’s response.
‘I campaigned for you,’ he said. ‘Now, when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors – this?’
More than 3,000 people have registered for federal assistance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and that number was expected to grow.
FEMA was providing $700 to displaced residents to cover the cost of food, water, first aid and medical supplies, in addition to qualifying coverage for the loss of homes and personal property.