Ignore, deny, then claim he’s done a great job

It’s all too easy — and oftentimes gross — to use natural disasters to attack incumbent political opponents.

No official boasts dominion over earth, wind, fire or water.

Yet in President Biden’s response to the devastating wildfires in Maui, we can see the reemergence of a familiar habit: to ignore, dance around and/or gaslight the public about a difficult situation — whether it’s self-inflicted or not — and respond to it only when the critiques become so deafening they drown out all else.

And the coup de grâce: to sing his own praises afterwards.

Consider the rising prices that have rendered Americans so unsatisfied with the economy even despite low unemployment and plenteous job openings.

In June 2021, Biden dismissed consumers’ concerns about the early warning signs of inflation, arguing that “the vast majority of the experts, including Wall Street” were right to say it wouldn’t last.

A few months later, Biden said it was the “difficult challenges and complications caused by COVID-19” that were “driving up costs for American families.”

What went unmentioned: Those challenges and complications were in no small part driven by an ill-advised $1.9 trillion spending jubilee Biden championed and signed at the outset of his presidency.

Damaged cars and houses in ruin are all that is left of a neighborhood after the Lahaina Fire swept through the city of Lahaina, Hawaii, USA, 16 August 2023.
On Sunday — whilst enjoying one of his many days at the beach — Biden was apparently too busy to comment on the devastation.

When Biden finally did get around to acknowledging the ramifications of inflation on the American people, his proposed remedy was even more brazen than his denial of the disease.

In August 2022, Biden signed another spending bill — largely focused on environmental social engineering — that was almost mockingly christened the Inflation Reduction Act.

Follow the latest NYP coverage of the deadly Maui wildfires

The architect of the novel and inane economic theory that putting more money in circulation might lower prices called the legislation “the single most important legislation passed in Congress to combat inflation and one of the most significant laws in our nation’s history.”

The gall of it all was at least tempered by his not saying how it was significant.

Biden’s roadmap for this kind of obfuscation was modeled by his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Afghan civilians carrying Afghan national flag along with Taliban flag stand with Taliban fighters and army soldiers to celebrate a three-day ceasefire on second day of Eid al-Fitr, in the outskirt of Kabul, Afghanistan, 16 June 2018.
Biden called the evacuation from Afghanistan an “extraordinary success.”

First, he handed a massive propaganda coup to the Taliban by announcing his intention to have all US troops out of the country on Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terror attacks.

Then, once the terrorists capitalized on his telegraphing of America’s intentions, he moved the timeline up while insisting it was not likely that the Afghan government would collapse once the United States left.

Finally, when the country collapsed even before US troops, civilians and allies were out of harm’s way and 13 service members died as a result, Biden delivered an impossibly hubristic speech patting himself on the back for it all.

He called the evacuation an “extraordinary success.”

He gloated that his administration was “ready” for the Taliban’s takeover against all observable evidence.

And shamefully, he used American veterans’ mental health to justify his decision and terrorists’ risible “public commitments” to provide safe passage to their enemies to defend its execution.

Again, with Maui, the president is recycling his tired strategy for dealing with disaster.

Last week, Biden promised the federal government would give Maui “everything it needs,”

But then Sunday — whilst enjoying one of his many days at the beach — Biden was apparently too busy to comment on the devastation.

“Mr. President, any comment on the rising death toll in Maui?” asked a reporter.

“No. No comment,” replied Biden.

A Combined Joint Task Force 50 (CJTF-50) search, rescue and recovery member conducts search operations of areas damaged by Maui wildfires in Lahaina, Hawaii, U.S. August 15, 2023.
Last week, Biden promised the federal government would give Maui “everything it needs,”

The commander in chief couldn’t spare a moment from one of his many vacations to address the most deadly American wildfire in more than a century?

Of course, now that he’s been roundly criticized, Biden has booked his ticket to Maui.

Don’t be surprised when — not if — he eschews taking responsibility for his callousness in favor of unearned self-congratulations.

Isaac Schorr is a staff writer at Mediaite.

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