Video footage obtained by on-the-ground reporter Brendan Gutenschwager shows the moment riot police were deployed outside President Biden’s meeting with auto union leaders in Michigan as a sizable group of pro-Palestine protesters showed up to heckle the president and demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Biden has been hemorrhaging support in Michigan — which has a significant Muslim population — since the October 7 attacks in Israel.
In his first campaign stop of the new year, President Biden delivered a brief speech at the UAW hall in Warren, Michigan in which he claimed his administration has presided over a roaring economy. “When labor does well, everybody does better,” Biden said in the seven-minute speech at the Region 1 George Merrelli Technical Training Center.
Outside the event, Biden was greeted by angry Pro-Palestine protesters who waved Palestinian flags and demanded a ceasefire. Demonstrators held signs reading “Abandon Biden” and “never forget” as they chanted “free, free Palestine” outside the venue. Riot police were deployed in order to keep order, though the crowd remained peaceful.
Protesters then followed Biden to another campaign stop at the Simple Palate restaurant in Warren where they chanted “how many kids did you kil today?”
Biden’s Michigan trip comes as his job approval and poll numbers continue to lag in the state. According to the most recent Morning Consult poll — which was conducted from January 16 – 21 — Biden currently trails former President Donald Trump by five percentage points.
The president will almost certainly need to win the crucial swing state, though his position on the Israel-Gaza conflict appears to be costing him with Muslim voters. U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has accused the president of “supporting genocide” in the Gaza Strip and has threatened to withhold her support in the general election.
“Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one,” Tlaib said in a November video message. “We will remember in 2024.”
Another lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-MI), has remained in Biden’s camp while also acknowledging that the president has work to do in Michigan. “You know, obviously we see the polls and they’re not good,” Scholten said before going on to express confidence that voters will reject Republican “extremism.”
When asked if Biden can win re-election without winning re-election, the Democrat lawmaker said “absolutely not.”