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By Sarah May on
 August 24, 2023

McCarthy says House probe of federal response to Hawaii wildfires likely

In the wake of the Maui wildfires that have officially left more than 100 dead and an untold number still missing, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has indicated his belief in the likely launch of a congressional probe into the controversial federal response to the disaster, as The Hill reports.

The Republican leader's comments came during an appearance at a 5G manufacturing facility located in the New York congressional district of fellow GOP Rep. Brandon Williams, according to Fox News.

Weighing in on what many observers have characterized as an inadequate governmental reaction to the devastation, McCarthy said, “We saw the devastation that happened, Maui...I'm very concerned about the response.”

The House speaker went on, “We still have hundreds of individuals that are missing. I think there's going to have to be a congressional investigation into the response on Maui.”

“How could you lose that many Americans in today's age” McCarthy wondered, echoing the sentiments of many who have been disappointed in the official reaction to the tragedy.

Indicating that a formal probe was almost certainly imminent, the California Republican said, “I'm going to be working with committees to investigate what went on so this never happens again.”

McCarthy also used the occasion to take aim at President Joe Biden's widely panned reaction earlier this month to reporters seeking comment on the horrifying scenes from the town of Lahaina.

“The president's response, no comment, that's unacceptable,” the speaker said, referencing Biden's shocking unwillingness to offer even the slightest commentary on what took place, seeming to concentrate instead on enjoying the remainder of his Delaware beach vacation undisturbed.

Though the administration has greenlit a federal disaster declaration and also sent hundreds of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff to the impacted area, those moves have not insulated the president from blistering criticism of what some view as a callous indifference to the suffering of Hawaiians.

The president and first lady paid a visit to Maui earlier this week to survey the scenes of destruction wrought by the fires – a trip some believed was late in coming – and seemed unable to avoid generating additional criticism of his approach to the situation, delivering what were arguably some very insulting and tone-deaf remarks.

In an ill-fated attempt to establish some kind of solidarity with wildfire victims, Biden launched into a monologue about a minor house fire he experienced years ago, one which authorities at the time said was rapidly extinguished without injury, as Fox News noted separately.

“I don't want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it was like to lose a home,” Biden began. “Years ago, now 15 years, I was in Washington doing Meet the Press. … Lightning struck at home on a little lake outside the home. Not a lake, a big pond. It hit the wire and came up underneath our home, into the...air condition ducts.”

“To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my '67 Corvette, and my cat,” the president added dramatically, though a 2004 report on the fire from the Associated Press said that the supposed conflagration was actually just a “small fire that was contained to the kitchen” and which was under control within 20 minutes.

Outrage over Biden's inapt comparison was swift and sure, with Sean Davis of The Federalist saying, “Kinda surprised he hasn't empathized with 9/11 victims by telling their families about that time he missed a connecting flight,” and Republican congressional candidate Joe Kent declaring, “Our fellow Americans burned alive & all Biden has for them is 700 dollars while he demands billions for Ukraine, all w/ a mocking smile & a story about almost losing his corvette.”

Written By:
Sarah May

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