Biden faces backlash after jokes while observing Maui fire damage

President Biden‘s quips while touring the wildfires in Maui hit a sour note with critics and residents who say the president appeared unsympathetic in the aftermath of the devastation that left over 110 people dead.

Mr. Biden arrived in Maui on Monday to give remarks on his administration’s efforts to assist the survivors and talk with residents and officials.

Ahead of the speech, Mr. Biden stopped to pet a cadaver dog and made a joke about the boots the rescue canine wore.

“You guys catch the boots out here? That’s some hot ground, man,” Mr. Biden asked reporters while smiling.

Some users on X, formerly known as Twitter, found the comments to be insensitive, given the tragedy.

“Nothing says leadership like yukking it up with the human-remains-sniffing dog,” wrote Micheal Dearing, founder of Harrison Metal.

“Imagine your loved one burned to death less than a month ago, and when Biden finally visits after his TWO vacations, he jokes about how hot the ground is. Sick,” wrote Robby Starbuck, a conservative commentator.

Conservative commentator Steve Guest simply wrote, “Read the room, my guy.”

Mr. Biden later faced more criticism for telling Lahaina residents that he and first lady Jill Biden “have a little sense” of the grief because their Wilmington home had a kitchen fire.

“I almost lost my wife, my ‘67 Corvette and my cat,” he told the audience, adding that firefighters “ran into flames to save my wife and save my family. Not a joke.”

According to an Associated Press report at the time of the incident, the fire was under control in 20 minutes.

Lahaina, a historic enclave, was demolished by the wildfires.

When Mr. Biden arrived in Maui earlier in the day, his motorcade was met with chants of “Go home, Joe!” and signs that said, “No Comment” in response to his repeated refusals to comment on the fires, which began Aug. 8.

The White House called the backlash “classless and stupid.”

“He’s petting one of the dogs that are working hard searching for remains so survivors who’ve lost loved ones can have closure,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates posted on X in response to the criticism.