President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, visited Maui 13 days after wildfires devastated the town of Lahaina. Before making a speech he said, ‘that’s some hot ground, man’ to one of the officials as they broke into laughter.
Here is a video of the exchange:
Days after he was scrutinized for his lack-luster response to the natural disaster unfolding in Maui, Biden took a trip to the fire-ravaged island on Monday where he surveyed the level of damaged wreaked by the wildfire.
At least 115 people have been killed so far in the horrific fires and over 850 people are still unaccounted for. Biden and the first lady met with Hawaiian officials, emergency service workers, and residents while on the island.
During his speech, Biden praised the “remarkable resiliency” of the people of Maui. “We’re focused on what’s next. That’s rebuilding for the long term …and doing it together,” said Biden, wearing an ornate lei. After a tour of the city of Lahaina, which had turned to ashes, he added he would make sure “your voices are heard.”
“The American people stand with you,” he told survivors of the August 8 wildfires, as he stood alongside Governor Josh Green, Hawaii’s senators and the representative for Maui in Congress. “For as long as it takes, we’re going to be with you.”
Biden said to a community of 400 people later at an event: “Jill and I are here to grieve with you but also we want you to know the entire country is here for you.” He did, however, note that rebuilding Lahaina was not going to be easy following the disaster. “It’s going to be a long road,” he said, noting the symbolism of an historic banyan tree.
“I know it’s a metaphor, but that’s you. That’s who you are. There’s no quit in Hawaii, there’s no quit in America, there’s no quit in us,” he added.
Biden, who interrupted a vacation in California to visit Maui, was met with both with the shaka, and the middle finger from onlookers when his motorcade passed blackened neighborhoods in Hawaii. Shaka is a hand gesture of thumb and little finger extended that signals aloha – a friendly greeting.