CNN climate reporter Bill Weir gushed over President Joe Biden’s remarks this week in Maui where he compared the worst fire the U.S. has experienced in over 100 years to a small kitchen fire at his home nearly two decades ago.

The Maui wildfires earlier this month killed well over 100 people, with more than 1,000 still unaccounted for, and destroyed nearly 3,000 structures, according to state and local officials.

“President and Dr. Biden spent several hours both over Lahaina on the ground here and meeting with both first responders and victims of this tragedy at the big shelter, the War Memorial shelter in central Maui,” Weir began.

Weir said that Biden “said the right things in many cases when he came to the microphone to give his statements,” later adding that he “did serve as empathizer-in-chief after five days of being mostly silent on the issue publicly.”

CNN’s @BillWeirCNN praises Biden’s Hawaii visit: “He said the right things … He serve[d] as empathizer-in-chief”

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 22, 2023

Biden, who faced intense criticism early on for vacationing and seemingly not taking a personal interest in the tragedy, visited the island on Monday and generated more controversy with his remarks.

Biden landed himself in hot water when he compared the fire to a fire at his home in the early 2000s that the Associated Press said at the time was “small” and “contained to the kitchen.” The Delaware fire chief said they got to the home quickly, and the situation was under control in a matter of minutes.

“I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, what it’s like to lose a home,” Biden said. “Years ago — now 15 years ago — I was in Washington doing ‘Meet the Press.’ It was a sunny Sunday, and lightning struck at home on a little lake that’s outside of our home — not a lake, a big pond — and hit a wire and came up underneath our home into the heating ducts — the air conditioning ducts.”


“To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ‘67 Corvette, and my cat,” he continued. “But all kidding aside, I watched the firefighters, the way they responded.”

Biden said firefighters ran into the “flames” in his home “to save my wife and save my family. Not a joke.”

“The smoke — and the firefighters here can tell you — sometimes smoke is so thick. From the windows out, it was that thick inside the home. And we were — we were insured. We did not have any problem, but being out of our home for a better part of a year was difficult,” Biden added. “I can only imagine what it’s like to lose your home completely burned to the ground.”

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