MAUI — Hawaiian residents are saying they don’t want Joe Biden to visit them on Monday as the president continues to face backlash this week for appearing aloof following the state’s largest natural disaster.
With pressure mounting for him to visit and discuss the federal government’s response to the Maui wildfires, Biden announced Wednesday that he would visit the devastated island come Monday, much to the dissatisfaction of some island residents.
“I don’t want him here,” Jay Awan, of Lahaina, told The Post Wednesday. “He’s just coming to Maui to look good in front of the cameras.”
Awan, 45, a cook and tiki carver, said nothing would be gained from the 80-year-old president’s visit, as his town, a once-popular resort area, has been “burned to the ground.”
He noted that even after reconstruction, which officials estimated would cost around $6 billion, the beloved island would never return to its former glory.
“It’s like a f–king warzone here,” he said of the devastation. “Maui’s never going to be the same. Lahaina’s never going to be the same.”
“They’re going to put resorts up all along here — Lahaina is going to lose its character as an old whaling village. We can’t get the historical sites back,” he lamented.
Peter Friedgen, another Lahaina resident, agreed with the sentiment, adding that he “don’t care if the president comes.”
The 66-year-old guitarist said he lost everything in the fire except for his instrument, which he strum while waiting on the outskirts of the charred city for officials to come.
“It’s a waiting game now for someone to show up — the government, insurers,” he said. “I’ve just been down the beach, waiting for people to get into town.”
Kristi Bowman, 60, an accountant who lived in the city, said that she does want Biden to visit, but only to help relay the devastation with the rest of the world and verbalize the federal government’s commitment to helping the island.
“We haven’t had federal support,” Bowman said. “We’ve had local support, not federal.”
Bowman slammed FEMA for its strict bureaucracy that was causing tension on the island, with the accountant seeing a recent claim filed on behalf of clients who lost their home get immediately rejected.
“I filed an application for somebody for disaster funding and it already got denied, saying they didn’t have proof from the insurance company over how much their losses were — but there’s no possible way to get that information right now.”
She also scoffed at reports that Biden promised to deliver $700 one-time relief grants per household to those impacted by the fires.
With the residents’ frustration, Biden faces an uphill battle to ease the people of West Maui, and his recent gaffes have not helped.
The president on Tuesday broke his silence about the staggering death toll at an economy-focused speech in Milwaukee, but at one point appeared to forget the name “Maui” and referred to it as “the one where you see on television all of the time.”
Two days earlier, Biden had replied “No comment” when asked for his reaction to the tragedy — stoking criticism even from fellow Democrats.
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