Top Biden aides meet with Arab American and Muslim community leaders in Michigan

Senior White House officials met with Arab and Muslim American community leaders in Michigan Thursday, amid frustrations in those communities over the president’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

“This meeting was held to ensure that the White House and those with the ability to change the course of the genocide unfolding in Gaza very clearly hear and understand the demands of our community – directly from us,” Dearborn, Mich., Mayor Abdullah Hammoud (D) said in a thread of posts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“We remained uncompromising in our values and our demands for a permanent ceasefire, ending unrestricted military support to the State of Israel, and expediting humanitarian aid and funding to [the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,] among others,” Hammoud continued in the thread.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also discussed the meeting in her daily press briefing Thursday, saying that it is a part “of the Biden-Harris ongoing outreach to Muslim and Arab Americans.”

“[W]e want to hear directly from them. We want to hear their concerns. We believe it’s important for — for these leaders to be — to be able to speak directly to officials in the White House,” Jean-Pierre said.

The top aides’ trip to Michigan, first reported on by CNN, reportedly featured Samantha Powers, United States Agency for International Development administrator; Tom Perez, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs director Tom Perez; Jon Finer, principal deputy national security adviser; Steve Benjamin, director of the Office of Public Engagement; Jamie Citron, principal deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement; Mazen Basrawi, NSC director for partnerships and global engagement; and Dan Koh, deputy director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

In remarks from the White House Thursday, Biden called Israel’s response in Gaza to October attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas “over the top.”

“I’ve been pushing really hard, really hard to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” Biden said. “There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying. And it’s got to stop.”

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