Elon Musk responded to Joe Rogan’s comments

Elon Musk responded to Joe Rogan’s comments

Joe Rogan and Elon Musk's

Elon Musk has weighed in on his social media platform’s role in “solving real-time information,” in response to Joe Rogan’s interview with former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard after the Maui wildfires.

Large bush fires on Maui in August took the lives of 115 people, according to the Hawaiian island’s police force, with 85 percent of the affected areas searched.

During an appearance last week on popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Gabbard, who became an independent in October, spoke with the titular host about the local and federal governments’ handling of the situation.

The wildfires led to power outages, mass evacuations and extensive destruction to the historic resort town of Lahaina. The fires broke out in early August and spread rapidly on powerful winds from a passing hurricane. In the aftermath, many residents were left without power and access to supplies and clean water.

“There was disaster upon disaster that came in the aftermath of the fire that went unaddressed,” Gabbard told Rogan. “I went there a few days after the fire happened. Maui was my district for eight years when I served in Congress and I had a lot of friends there. [I] went out to those affected communities.

“What I heard over and over again was no one from the county, state, or the federal government has shown their face in our community. It is neighbors helping neighbors, families helping families.”

“People on the island of Moloka’i[..] they don’t have much on their island. Everything comes in by barge. They’re loading up whatever they have in their general store on these little boats and running them over to West Maui to a private boat dock because that was the only place that they wouldn’t be blocked from bringing food and water, and medical supplies.” Moloka’i is an island to the northwest of Maui.

“Why are people being blocked?” Rogan asked. “I keep hearing that, about people being blocked. Is it because they haven’t gotten an accurate death count? Is it because they have to make an assessment of how much was damaged?”

“I don’t have a good answer [as to] why they continue to block the roads to those surrounding communities,” Gabbard responded. “You could say, ‘Well, we were trying to secure the area,’ But you’re blocking friends and families from coming in and bringing necessary supplies.”

“Why aren’t you communicating to people what’s going on and why you’re doing what you’re doing?” Gabbard went on. “The results of their decisions left people and families, and communities stranded in their most dire time of need.”

A clip of the interview was shared on X, formerly Twitter, where Musk, who took over the social media platform last year, weighed in with his own take.

“The Lahaina fire tragedy highlights the importance of X solving real-time information that is local,” the billionaire wrote in response to the video clip, which has been viewed more than 2 million times.

Elsewhere in the clip, Rogan said that the U.S. government had “over-sent” $6 billion to Ukraine amid the country’s ongoing war with Russia. “I said, ‘Well, how much would it cost to rebuild every house in the Maui fire?’ It’s $5 billion and something,” Rogan told Gabbard.

Gabbard responded: “When I was out there in Maui, person after person was like, ‘Tulsi, tell me what would happen if we started to call ourselves Ukraine. Do you think they would give us some money then to take care of our families, to fix our roofs that have been torn up by the hurricane winds that came through, to make sure we have clean water to drink? Do you think they might pay attention to us then?'”

Rogan and Gabbard went on to criticize President Joe Biden‘s announcement that affected households in Maui would be eligible for a one-off $700 payment—an offer that was last month described as “insulting” by detractors.

“Hawaii has the highest cost of the living in the entire country, and how fricking insulting is it to have the lead disaster response administrator from the Biden administration (Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA) stand there and proudly say, ‘Hey, we’re giving everybody one $700 payment?'” Gabbard said.

“It’s insane,” Rogan responded, “and it’s insane especially because of how much money we’re sending to Ukraine. Because there can be no doubt these things are financially motivated now.”

The $700-per-household payment isnot the totality of the federal aid that will go to Maui. Although some figures have been released, the disaster recovery effort is in its early stages and further disbursements are expected in the weeks to come.

The Maui wildfires were declared a major disaster by the president on August 10. This allows the federal government to offer low-interest disaster loans to affected businesses and residents through the Small Business Administration.

Homeowners and renters on Maui can claim up to $500,000 at 2.5 percent interest for home repairs or reconstruction, or up to $100,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses can claim up to $2 million at 4 percent interest.

The aid being sent to Ukraine is also largely of a different sort. The bulk is defensive weaponry and equipment.

Congress granted $113 billion in aid and military assistance to Ukraine between the invasion in February 2022 and the end of last year, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan think tank cited by senators.

About $67.1 billion was for defensive capabilities, while $46 billion was non-defense aid, including economic and disaster assistance funds, and help for refugees.

The Department of Defense said it had provided $12.1 billion in security assistance to Kyiv since the start of 2023.

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