Biden campaign: We don't want the votes of 'Death to America' protesters in Michigan

Biden campaign: We don't want the votes of 'Death to America' protesters in Michigan
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EXCLUSIVE: The Biden campaign said it does not want the votes of those caught on video chanting "Death to America" during a recent anti-Israel rally in the 2024 battleground state of Michigan.

A Dearborn crowd was led in chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" by Michigan-based activist Tarek Bazzi during last Friday’s International Al-Quds Day rally.

When asked if the president was still courting those agitators, who typically lean Democrat, Biden campaign spokesperson Charles Lutvak replied, "No."

Bazzi’s remarks were also denounced by the White House.

"The White House condemns these abhorrent and antisemitic remarks in the strongest terms," deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital. "As President Biden has said, America is the greatest nation on Earth and a beacon to the world."

The question whether Biden wants the votes of those same Michigan protesters in November is a pivotal one, given that the state is likely to play a key role in the rematch between Biden and former President Trump.

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The campaign initially limited its comments to the chants themselves, largely reciting the White House statement.

Biden's campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt told Fox News Digital that the chants had been "condemned" by the campaign. Lutvak reiterated that the "Biden-Harris campaign denounces these disgusting and antisemitic remarks."

"President Biden knows America is the greatest nation in the world. Full stop," Lutvak said.

The controversy surrounding the Dearborn rally comes amid the city's emergence as one of the key centers of resistance to Biden’s re-election bid. During last month's Democratic primary in Michigan, more than 100,000 voters marked "uncommitted" on their ballots instead of supporting Biden as the party’s nominee.

The voter hostility toward Biden is chiefly a result of the administration's stance on Israel, which is at war with Hamas after the terror group's Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish State. Though the White House has shown increasingly tepid support for the U.S. ally, many of those opposed to the Israeli offensive remain unsatisfied.

For its part, the campaign has worked to ease the tension with voters in Dearborn, a city with the highest per capita Muslim population in the country. Campaign officials met with Arab American and Muslim leaders in the area in January, though that outreach was derided as "dehumanizing" by Democratic Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.

President Joe Biden (left) and Mayor of Dearborn Abdullah Hammoud (right)
Dearborn, Michigan, Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, right, led an effort ahead of the state's Democratic primary encouraging voters to choose "uncommitted" delegates as a rebuke to President Biden.

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"This is not a moment for electoral politics," Hammoud told CNN after the meeting. "Over the course of now, 115 days, Israel murdered more than 26,000 Gazans and displaced over 2 million.

"For us, this is an issue that demands action and not lip service. This is an issue that requires policymakers to come talk about taking a different course of action. This is not a conversation you have with campaign staff."

That meeting was followed by another in February, with the summit this time featuring top Biden administration officials. Again, it did not go well. Democratic State Rep. Abraham Aiyash vowed there would be no further dialogue between the two sides until the administration made "tangible changes" in its policy regarding the conflict in Gaza, according to CBS.

"We want to see a permanent cease-fire," Aiyash told The Associated Press after the meeting. "We want to be able to see restrictions and conditions on any military aid that is sent to Israel. And we want to see the United States take a serious commitment towards rebuilding Gaza."

Local activist Takek Bazzi
Local activist Takek Bazzi.

Biden appeared to address some of those concerns last week when he warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. policy in Gaza could change if the Israeli military did not do more to improve the humanitarian situation of those in the war zone.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters after that call that the U.S. would shift gears "if we don't see the changes that we need to see." White House national security communications adviser John Kirby made clear that the administration expected to see results from Israel within "hours and days" of the call.

Biden stressed to Netanyahu the need for an "immediate cease-fire," something the president argued would be "essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians," a White House readout of the call stated.

However, the conversation was likened to "baby steps" by some of those in Dearborn, ABC reported. Arab American News publisher Osama Siblani told the outlet that the community is looking for "giant steps."

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"All they are trying to do is convince us that there is some kind of movement toward where we want," Siblani said, according to ABC. "But it’s too slow and it’s dragging. It’s more death and casualties that are happening."

The continued tension with voters in Dearborn threatens to become a problem for Biden's campaign as Michigan's status as a swing state looms large in November. The last two presidential elections have been tight affairs in the state. Trump won Michigan by under half a percentage point in 2016, while Biden won it by just over three points in 2020.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.


Original article source: Biden campaign: We don't want the votes of 'Death to America' protesters in Michigan