White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are “praying” for the victims of the Maui wildfires a day after the president declined to comment on the tragedy.
During Monday’s press briefing, Jean-Pierre said the president and his wife were sending prayers to the victims of the Maui wildfires that leveled the town of Lahaina.
“As the president said last week that he and the first lady are praying for families who are grieving their loved ones and for everyone who has suffered devastating losses of land and property as a result of the wildfires in Maui,” Jean-Pierre said.
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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are “praying” for the victims of the Maui wildfires a day after the president declined to comment on the tragedy. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“The president continues to stay closely engaged with his team and state and local officials to ensure a robust, whole-of-government response continues,” she added.
Jean-Pierre said the president has been in contact with FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell and state and local officials since Sunday night.
The president’s spokesperson’s claim comes in contrast to the president’s declining to comment while on a Delaware beach on Sunday.
In response to a request for comment, The White House pointed to positive comments from Hawaii Gov. Josh Green about the federal government’s response on Sunday, who told MSNBC that he was “honored to have the president jump to it so fast.”
This photo provided by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources shows burnt areas in Lahaina on the Maui island, Hawaii, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, following a wildfire. (Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources via AP) (Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources via AP)
“President Biden has mobilized and led a whole-of-government response to the wildfires in Hawaii from the beginning, working closely on it and receiving detailed briefings every day since,” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
“Yesterday he received two updates from FEMA Administrator Criswell while she was on the ground. As Governor Green stressed yesterday, within six hours of receiving Hawaii’s request, President Biden signed a Major Disaster Declaration and ordered all available federal resources in the state to help with the response. Governor Green described this as having provided ‘amazing support for recovery.’ Senator Hirono also thanked President Biden for the immediate support federal agencies have delivered for the residents of Hawaii, as has Senator Schatz. Like President Biden said on Thursday, ‘I’ve directed that we surge support to these brave firefighters and first responders and emergency personnel working around the clock […] I’m going to make sure the state has everything it needs from the federal government to recover.'”
White House officials also said Sunday that Biden was briefed by FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on the situation in Maui. The president posted an update late Monday morning.
“As residents of Hawai’i mourn the loss of life and devastation taking place across their beautiful home, we mourn with them. Like I’ve said, not only our prayers are with those impacted – but every asset we have will be available to them,” he wrote.
A Maui resident told CNN on Friday that he wasn’t getting the support he needed from the government. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A Maui resident told CNN on Friday that he wasn’t getting the support he needed from the government.
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“I’m not getting what I need from the government,” Maui resident Cole Millington said.
“We need support on the federal level,” he continued. “We should have the Navy here. We should have the Coast Guard here. We should have helicopters here. It shouldn’t be me and my friends, in our 20, 30-year-old trucks grabbing supplies and driving them through a burning town to get there.”
Fox News Digital’s Hanna Panreck contributed reporting.