Look who’s talking.
Michael D. Brown, the former FEMA administrator during Hurricane Katrina—who was widely blamed for the federal government’s slow rescue efforts before resigning within a matter of days—took to Fox News Thursday to denounce President Joe Biden’s response to the Hawaiian wildfires as an “abject failure.”
Appearing on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, Brown said Biden’s response was particularly bad—even among the myriad other elected officials who were more directly involved in managing the crisis.
“Biden’s response is an abject failure,” he declared, before criticizing the president for deciding not to talk at length to the press earlier in the day about his upcoming trip to the site, other than to say he’d be arriving in Maui on Monday.
Brown then called on Biden to stay away from Maui, where 111 people have died and potentially more than 1,000 are unaccounted for as a result of the nation’s deadliest wildfire in over a century.
“If he wants to go to Honolulu and meet with the governor, that’s fine. But I can tell you from personal experience that if he goes to Maui, it will interrupt operations because the United States Secret Service will put an air cap over Maui. They won’t let any helicopters fly. It will be a complete disaster,” he predicted.
Fox host Laura Ingraham, who had earlier described the wildfires as “Biden’s Katrina,” said she wasn’t sure “anyone was expecting” Biden to “descend on the ruins” anyways. She then offered Brown a bit of sympathy regarding his role in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane.
“I know back in the day during Katrina, [Homeland Security Director Michael] Chertoff kind of tied your hands and you got dumped on for that, but in this case just focusing on the president again, tone really does matter,” she said. (Chertoff replaced Brown, who had been in charge of relief duties while on-site, only nine days after Brown had assumed the role. Brown resigned from FEMA three days later.)
“[Biden] is supposed to be Mr. Empathy,” Ingraham continued. “And you don’t see it when you are at the beach. This is a horrific event for the United States. If Donald Trump was at the beach when something like this happened under his watch—I mean, they always criticize him for being on the golf course, I know—but this really took the cake.”
Brown agreed, claiming that the president doesn’t know how to use “the bully pulpit to talk about everything that’s going on and assuring the people in Maui—and frankly all Americans—that the federal government is doing every single thing that they should be doing.”
In a tweet on Tuesday, Biden wrote that he reassured Gov. Josh Green that the state “will continue to have everything it needs from the federal government.” He added that he directed FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell “to keep surging resources and personnel as long as it takes.”
Yet Brown also expressed concern with the whereabouts of Criswell.
“Quite frankly I don’t know where the FEMA administrator is today. I know she was in the White House briefing room yesterday. Why isn’t she in Maui?” he asked.