DEARBORN, Mich. (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden traveled to Dearborn, Michigan to tout his push for electric vehicles, but was overshadowed by a split with the left of his party over his stance on the conflict in the Middle East.
Biden was greeted just moments after arriving in Michigan by Representative Rashida Tlaib, who represents the state’s 13th district. She has been one of his harshest policy critics in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Tlaib is also the only Palestinian-American in Congress.
The Ford Rouge plant is in a section of Dearborn that’s estimated to be more than 90% Arab American Muslim, many of the locals are strong supporters of Palestinians. Significant protests took place across the city while Biden was there.
Later, the president acknowledged Tlaib’s family still in the region.
“I pray that your grandmom and family are well. I promise you I’m going to do everything to see that they are in the West Bank. You’re a fighter and God thank you for being a fighter,” said Biden.
Despite the president’s call for a ceasefire in a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the battle between Israel and Hamas still rages.
Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories went on strike in a rare collective protest Tuesday as Israeli missiles toppled a building in Gaza and militants in the Hamas-ruled territory fired dozens of rockets that killed two people.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since fighting began last week, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says it is acting in self defense as Hamas launches wave after wave of rockets.
As pressure mounts from progressives in his own party, who are more critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, Biden has repeatedly said he supports Israel’s right to defend itself.
This as Republicans continue to put blame Hamas for the mounting death toll.
“I’m really perplexed about the argument that there’s some kind of moral equivalency between Hamas, a terrorist organization funded by Iran, and Israel,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Late Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying a cease-fire is necessary, stating, “There must be a serious effort on the part of both parties to end the violence and respect the rights of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report