Remarks by President Biden at Community Event for Residents Affected by Wildfires | White House (2023)

Lahaina Civic Center
Lahaina, Hawaii

14:25 High temperature test


Audience: Goat.

PRESIDENT: While I was listening to several people on the island today, one sentence came to mind: tradition in my family. Because we are always so busy, for the past 25 years whenever my daughter or son were alive and wanted to leave me a message, they would post it on my shaving mirror.

A few years ago I was going through a particularly difficult time when my daughter posted a quote from Kierkegaard on my mirror. "Faith sees best in the dark," he said. "Faith sees best in darkness."

When things look darkest, that's when we need faith: faith in our family, faith in ourselves, faith in our God. In the few hours I've been here so far, I've seen incredible resilience. What a great person.

(Video) Biden speaks in Lahaina after surveying Maui fire damage | full video

Jill and I are here to offer our condolences, but we also want you to know that the entire country is behind you. This is not an exaggeration. We mean it. The entire company and country is at your service.

We just inspected the damage. I want you to know: what is necessary is necessary.

I am looking at your congressmen, senators, governors and lieutenant governors. We'll do it for you, but do it the way you want -- (applause) -- not the way someone else is doing it. No, I'm serious.

I don't mean to make it difficult, but Jill and I know what it's like to lose a home. A few years ago, fifteen years ago, I was in Washington for a "Meet the Press" event. It was a sunny Sunday and lightning struck a small lake in front of our house - not a lake but a large pond - it hit an electrical cable and tore through the heating ducts - air conditioning ducts under our house.

Long story short, I almost lost my wife, a '67 Corvette. and a cat. But kidding aside, I watched the firefighters and saw how they reacted.

You know, the old saying: I grew up across the street from a fire station in Claremont, Delaware. The expression is, "God created man, and then he created some firemen." Thank God you're all crazy. The only one who got into trouble trying to help others. They ran into the fire to save my wife and my family. seriously.

The smoke - local fire brigades can tell you - is sometimes thick. When you look out the window, the room is very dense. We... we have insurance. We haven't had any problems, but being away from home most of the year is a pain.

I can only imagine what it would be like to lose your house completely burned down, and more importantly, to lose everything that was important to you - from the ring he gave you when you were 19, to a special letter from A.'s son or your daughter. The little things that matter most. Album - Family album. They are all litmus tests for all the things we care about and are losing.

(Video) US President Joe Biden visits Maui after wildfires - BBC News

Many of you have lost more than that. Many of you have lost relatives, and some of them don't even know where they are.

I had a similar experience. I am a young senator in the care of my mentor, Danny Inouye. This is not a joke. I was 29 that year. I'm not old enough to be sworn in as a senator. Plus, I've been listed as the poorest person in Congress for 36 years, so I don't qualify based on my income.

What happened was that I interviewed employees in Washington. After I was elected on December 18, before I was sworn in, I got a call from the fire department saying I had to go home right away. An accident happened.

The tow hitch ended up where my wife and three kids were going Christmas shopping. She was killed. My child was killed. My two sons were initially thought to be unfit.

So I kind of get a sense of what it's like to drive the 150 miles from Washington to Wilmington, wondering what the hell it's going to be like when I get to the hospital.

There are worse things than losing someone and not being sure you've lost someone. I'm not sure where they are. My heart goes out to you - Jill and I - and I feel pain for you, those of you who are trying to determine if a missing person is missing and missing for devastating reasons.

What I have noticed in my short time here today is the courage, togetherness and sense of belonging that you have. This is no ordinary neighborhood. This is a community based on mutual trust. I saw. I had the opportunity to meet your governors, your senators, your fellow citizens. It's true what they say about who you are. It's true and it's important.

There was an old Irish poet who wrote a poem called 'The Healing of Troy'. There is a passage in it that seems to fit. "History tells us not to place our hopes on this side of the grave. But once in a lifetime, the long-awaited wave of justice and hope will come and history will rhyme," he said.

(Video) Biden, first lady survey damage from deadly Maui wildfire l GMA

It's time to stand up for all of you. It's time to rebuild this community the way you want it -- the way you want it -- (applause) -- so that it continues to be a community, not a bunch of fancy houses, but a community.

I promise you -- I promise you, if Biden -- as long as I'm president and you governors governors and you -- your elected officials are here, we won't stop until it's all over.

As I flew over the carnage in a helicopter today, I saw a beautiful house undamaged, while a whole row of houses burned down around it. Well, I asked what the average age of the houses in this neighborhood is. They say almost 50 years. The way boards, glass and windows were built has changed.

We will not rebuild for you; we will rebuild better – better than you can rebuild. But what you want, you need. (applause.)

Because, friends, the truth is that the rest of the world is watching you. You know, it's not the same situation, it's not the same loss. But the truth is that it matters to families who are informed.

It will be a long road, but you have to hope. Hope is actually an eternal spring. It is based on faith, trust in each other.

You know, I was so amazed at how you two cared for each other and turned pain into purpose. The city stood on this holy place for centuries. So much history. very nice.

Before I came, I stood in front of a 150-year-old banyan tree. Even though it's burned, it's still there. One resident called it the Rough Diamond of Hope. Another said, "Fire cannot reach the source."

(Video) WATCH: Biden Falls ASLEEP In Front Of Maui Fire Survivors?! Plus ANOTHER Tone-Deaf Gaffe: Rising

I know it's a metaphor, but it's you. this is you. It's Hawaii. Hawaii did not stop smoking. It is not possible to quit smoking in the United States. For God's sake, if we remember who we are, we won't give up.

Finally, I want to pray for all of you - this is a prayer I said at a funeral mass that had an impact on my children and my children's - it is based on the 91st Psalm in my church, which says, “Let him fly like eagles. "With the breath of dawn, may you rise like the sun, hold you in the palm of your hand."

The people of this island have shown you absolute courage. The people of the whole country stand behind you. Really.

May God bless you all. May you find the faith to endure what you have to endure.

I don't want to -- I don't want to do anything outrageous here, but if anyone is willing to talk to me after this is over, I'll stay here because I want you to know that I really care. seriously. seriously.

Besides, if I hadn't... Danny, I know you're watching. (laughs) I know you're watching. I think I learned the lesson you taught me.

God bless you.

Every time I left my grandfather's house—he was an old Irishman—he would yell, "Joy, keep the faith." My grandma said, "No, Joey, it's wider." Let's spread the faith.

(Video) President Biden arrives in Maui after devastating fires

God loves you all. (applause.)

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1. Joe Biden tells his own experience with fire to ‘relate to the people of Hawaii’
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2. Joe Biden speaks in Hawaii after inspecting wildfire damage
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3. Hawaiians react to President Biden's visit to the state after the deadly wildfires #shorts
(Yahoo News)
4. Watch: Joe Biden accused of sleeping during memorial service
(Daily Mail)
5. ‘Where’s the President?’: Emotional Maui resident calls out Joe Biden
(Sky News Australia)
6. 'Whatever It Takes, As Long As It Takes': Biden Pledges Help In Maui, Hawaii
(Forbes Breaking News)


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