(The Center Square) – Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday he invited President and First Lady Joe and Jill Biden to visit fire-ravaged Maui on Monday as fire recovery efforts should make the visit safe.
“Relief professionals have indicated that this is a point when a majority of our search and recovery efforts should be nearly complete and a time when extra presence will not hamper disaster management efforts,” Green said.
Republicans criticized Biden’s response to the fires. Among them is former President and current GOP candidate Donald Trump, who called Biden’s response “disgraceful” in a video on Monday.
Green said the president is strongly supporting rescue and recovery efforts in Maui.
“We’ve been in constant contact with the President and his team,” Green said in a statement. “Just six hours after submitting our official request, President Biden signed our major disaster declaration, allowing us to expeditiously mobilize with the full support of the federal government to aid our community. To date, we have received massive help from the FEMA, the U.S Small Business Administration, and virtually every other key federal partner.”
The death toll from the fires has risen to 106, according to officials.
The state has reopened the Lahaina bypass but is asking people only to visit the West Maui area if they work, live, or volunteer with recovery efforts.