ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Biden sends aides to meet with Arab American leaders in Michigan amid frustration over Gaza war

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a visit by US President Joe Biden in Warren, Michigan, February 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a visit by US President Joe Biden in Warren, Michigan, February 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

President Joe Biden is sending several senior aides to Michigan to meet with Arab American and Muslim leaders, according to three people familiar with the matter, as his administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza frustrates members of a key constituency in a 2024 battleground state.

Those making the trip for Thursday’s meeting include Samantha Power, head of the US Agency for International Development, principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, and Steven Benjamin, who directs the Office of Public Engagement, a White House official said.

All who discussed the plans are not authorized to do so publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The officials do not offer any details about the community members expected to attend.

Also expected to attend are Tom Perez, who leads the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, as well as Mazen Basrawi, the White House liaison to American Muslim communities, and aides Jamie Citron and Dan Koh.

Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, and other campaign aides went to suburban Detroit late last month, but found a number of community leaders unwilling to meet with them.

Other community activists have gone even further as they press their disapproval of the president’s handling of the war and have formed a group called “Abandon Biden,” a movement discouraging voters from supporting the president in November.

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