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Friday, September 22, 2023
Newsmax Pushed Bogus 'No Comment' Attack On Biden Over Maui Wildfire
Topic: Newsmax

Brian Freeman huffed in an Aug. 14 Newsmax article:

President Joe Biden refused to comment on the rising death toll in Hawaii after he spent several hours on Sunday relaxing on the beach in Delaware during his vacation, the Daily Mail reported.

As Biden left the beach, he was asked for his response to the wildfires that have killed 96 people, to which he replied, "No comment."

During a bike ride earlier in the day, Biden gave a similar answer when asked about the tragedy, which is Hawaii's worst natural disaster ever, saying, "We're looking at it."

Just one problem: there's no proof he said that. As the White House press pool report stated (h/t Robert Mackey), reporter and pool report writer Rob Crilly of the Daily Mail -- a right-wing anti-Biden content mill -- never actually heard those words but claim that "lip readers in the pool" claimed he said it. But that was enough for the fellow Biden-haters at Newsmax to manufacture a controversy. Mark Swanson followed up later in the day:

The White House on Monday tried to beat back criticism of President Joe Biden in the aftermath of his "no comment" regarding the wildfires in Maui that have left 96 dead, to this point.

The president is "deeply concerned," the White House assured.

A vacationing Biden invited the criticism with his responses to questions about the rising death toll from reporters on Sunday. He also gave an obtuse "we're looking at it" when asked about the worst natural disaster in Hawaii's history. It left many thinking the president couldn't be bothered amid his relaxing day in Rehoboth, Delaware.

And, yes, Donald Trump was given a chance to weigh in, as Charles Kim wrote:

Former President Donald Trump called out President Joe Biden in a video Monday for saying "no comment" when asked about the deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui that officials confirm killed 99 to date with hundreds of people still missing.

"Our government was not prepared, and very importantly, the aftermath is going very poorly," Trump said in a video post on social media site X Monday. "Crooked Joe Biden, the most incompetent president in the history of our country, with a laugh and a smile, said that he had 'no comment' on the death and the tragedy."

While Trump said there are times that response is appropriate, using it in this situation was "horrible and unacceptable."

"It is a disgraceful thing that Joe Biden refuses to help or comment on the tragedy in Maui just as he refused to help or comment on the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, for a very, very long time."

Neither Swanson nor Kim disclosed that Biden's words were divined for attempted lip-reading, not anyone actually hearing him say it.

Nicole Wells wrote in an Aug. 17 article that "President Joe Biden has been blasted for relaxing on a beach in Delaware and telling reporters he had 'no comment' on the situation in Maui." In an Aug. 23 article, Wells wrote that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that "President Joe Biden telling reporters he had 'no comment' on the Maui fires while on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is 'unacceptable.'" She also failed to tell readers that no reporter heard him say it.

An Aug. 23 article on the first Republican presidential debate by the apparently unironically named Charlie McCarthy uncritically quoted Ron DeSantis saying, "Biden was on the beach while those people [in Maui] were suffering. He was asked about it [and] he said no comment. Are you kidding me?" Again, there was no mention that the remarks are based on alleged lip-reading, not anyone actually hearing the words.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:48 PM EDT

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