Lesson for the Maui wildfire response: The work doesn’t end with one visit.
President Biden plans to visit Maui after an unusual bout of media criticism. Usually friendly journalists chastised him for five days of silence on the recent wildfires, which have killed at least 114; more than 1,000 are missing. The Washington Post noted a “rare period of public dispassion from Biden.”
The scenario is reminiscent of the one George W. Bush faced 18 years ago during Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Gulf region.
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In his memoir, Mr. Bush lamented that the “legacy of fall 2005 lingered for the rest of my time in office.” His acknowledgment of error, and his continuing efforts to help, don’t diminish the tragedy, but demonstrate an impressive commitment.
The end of the Bush presidency wasn’t the end of the story. Mr. Bush remained interested in the region, and in 2015, he went back to commemorate Katrina’s 10th anniversary. He said in Gulfport, Miss., that it was “a good time to honor courage and resolve.” Mr. Biden is doing the right thing by going to Maui, but an initial presidential visit is only one step in a long process.
Full text available here through The Wall Street Journal.