Saturday 26 August 2023

White House tries to clean up Biden's Maui-related 'no comment' gaffe with insane excuse 2 weeks later

 Nearly two weeks after President Joe Biden said, "No comment," about the devastating Maui wildfires, the White House rolled out a novel excuse for the controversial response.

After the president relaxed on a beach while on vacation in Delaware, reporters asked Biden whether he had a response to the wildfires. He responded, "No. No comment." 

But now the White House is performing clean-up duty, denying that Biden said what everyone, including Maui residents, heard.

"He didn't hear the question," White House deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told the New York Times in an exclusive statement on Thursday.

"He absolutely didn't say 'no comment' in relation to Maui. And in fact, he had already spoken to the nation about Maui at that point, in addition to being in daily contact with senior staff, FEMA, and state officials as he marshaled a whole-of-government response to the fires," she added.

But what does the video show?

It's impossible to disprove with certainty the White House's explanation, but video of the incident appears to indicate that Biden understood the question. 

The video shows that Biden was about to enter a vehicle when he realized reporters were shouting questions at him. He stopped his vehicle-entrance attempt, listened to the question — "Mr. President, any comment on the rising death toll in Maui?" — and then provided his answer in a natural response when the reporter finished speaking. 

Biden's response — "No. No comment" — appears to show that he heard and understood the question because the reporter specifically asked for a "comment."

If Biden did not hear the question as the White House claimed, why wait almost two weeks to clarify?

Moreover, why provide a statement to the New York Times 11 days later, instead of providing a statement to all media outlets? The Times was certainly not the only outlet to query the White House for a response.

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