UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden warns Idalia still dangerous, says he hasn’t forgotten about the victims of Hawaii’s wildfires

Aug 30, 2023, 2:05 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that Hurricane Idalia was “still very dangerous” even though the storm had weakened after it came ashore in Florida and said he has not forgotten about the wildfire victims in Hawaii, declaring himself “laser focused” on helping them recover.

Challenged by back-to-back extreme weather episodes — wildfires that burned a historic town on the island of Maui to the ground and a hurricane that forecasters said could bring catastrophic flooding — the Democratic president who is running for a second term sought to appear in command of the federal government’s response to both events.

Some Republicans in Congress have threatened to investigate the federal response in Hawaii after some Maui residents complained that the government wasn’t sending enough early help.

Biden said he had spoken to the governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, all states affected by Idalia. He received his second briefing in as many days from Deanne Criswell, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and directed her to spend Thursday with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to start assessing the hurricane damage and the needs there.

DeSantis, who is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and Biden have clashed in recent months over the socially conservative governor’s policies. as politicians from opposing parties will do. But Biden said there was no trace of politics in his storm-related conversations with the governor.

“I know that sounds strange,” Biden said, noting how partisan politics have become. He recalled accompanying DeSantis in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the last major storm to wallop Florida.

“I think he trusts my judgment and my desire to help and I trust him to be able to suggest that this is not about politics,” the president said. “This is about taking care of the people of the state.”

Biden also announced $95 billion in infrastructure funds will be going to Maui to help harden the electrical grid and pay for such things as erecting stronger poles to hold up power lines or bury them underground where possible, and to deploy technology that can send alerts about power disruptions.

Some people on the island whose homes were burned have complained that authorities have refused to let them return to their properties. Biden appealed for patience, explaining that the hazardous material must be removed before anyone can return.

“We’re doing everything we can to move heaven and earth to help you recover, rebuild and return to your lives,” he said, adding that the situation will be as “frustrating as the devil for people.”

“I want to be clear with the people of Maui about what to expect. The work we’re doing is going to take time, in some cases a long time,” he added.

The federal government is paying to remove the debris, including hazardous material.

Biden said he understands how painful the situation is, with lives disrupted, including the start of the new school year, and people displaced.

“I get it. What can I tell you? The one thing I can tell you is we’re going to be with you every step of the way,” the president said.

He was meeting with his Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the response in Maui and hearing from Bob Fenton, the FEMA official he put in charge of overseeing the island’s long-term recovery.

“We are going to make sure you are healed and you’re in better shape than before,” Biden said, recalling his visit to Maui on Aug. 21. “I said when I was on the island last week we’re not leaving until the job’s done, and we’ll be there as long as it takes.”

United States News

Associated Press

Idaho group says it is exploring a ballot initiative for abortion rights and reproductive care

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new Idaho organization says it will ask voters to restore abortion access and other reproductive health care rights in the state after lawmakers let a second legislative session end without modifying strict abortion bans that have been blamed for a recent exodus of health care providers. “We have not been […]

8 minutes ago

Associated Press

An Alabama prison warden is arrested on drug charges

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — The warden of an Alabama prison was arrested Friday on drug charges, officials with the state prison system confirmed. Chadwick Crabtree, the warden at Limestone Correctional Facility, was charged with the manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to […]

21 minutes ago

Associated Press

South Africa man convicted in deaths of 2 Alaska Native women faces revocation of U.S. citizenship

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors want to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a South Africa man convicted of killing two Alaska Native women for allegedly lying on his naturalization application for saying he had neither killed nor hurt anyone. Brian Steven Smith, 52, was convicted earlier this year in the deaths of the two […]

27 minutes ago

Associated Press

10-year-old boy confesses to fatally shooting a man in his sleep 2 years ago, Texas authorities say

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 10-year-old boy has confessed to an unsolved killing in Texas, telling investigators that he shot a man he did not know while the victim slept, authorities said Friday. The boy, who was just shy of his eighth birthday when the man was shot two years ago, has been evaluated at […]

30 minutes ago

Associated Press

Man who won primary election while charged with murder convicted on lesser charge

LEBANON, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana man who won a primary election for a township board position while charged with killing his estranged wife has been found guilty of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. A Boone County jury convicted Andrew Wilhoite, 41, of Lebanon on Thursday, local news outlets reported. Wilhoite was charged […]

43 minutes ago

Associated Press

Ex-Philadelphia police officer pleads guilty in shooting death of 12-year-old boy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A fired Philadelphia police officer pleaded guilty Friday to murder in the shooting of a fleeing 12-year-old boy, who prosecutors have said was on the ground and unarmed when the officer fired the fatal shot. Edsaul Mendoza also pleaded guilty to possession of an instrument of crime as part of a plea […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Biden warns Idalia still dangerous, says he hasn’t forgotten about the victims of Hawaii’s wildfires