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Biden tells UAW members in Michigan: ‘The whole country owes you’

President Joe Biden highlighted the resilience of U.S. manufacturing during his campaign stop in Michigan, praising the role of organized labor in fostering the country’s robust economy. Speaking at a United Auto Workers hall in Warren, Biden brushed aside previous predictions of the demise of American manufacturing, humorously stating, “We don’t taste that good” in response to concerns about China’s economic dominance.

The visit, leading up to the Feb. 27 presidential primary election, faced protests related to Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict. While he garnered support from UAW members inside the union hall, around 200 protesters advocating for a Gaza ceasefire were present nearby.

Addressing the UAW members, Biden focused on economic messages, acknowledging the pivotal role of labor in building and sustaining the middle class. The visit came on the heels of the UAW’s endorsement, underscoring the strong alliance between the Biden administration and the union.

Biden’s trip stirred controversy and protests related to his approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict, with some protesters labeling him “Genocide Joe” and expressing dissatisfaction with perceived unconditional support for Israel.

Despite the criticism, Biden signed an executive order targeting Israeli settlers in the West Bank accused of attacking Palestinians. The Michigan visit followed the UAW’s endorsement and reported withdrawal of Arab and Muslim American leaders from a planned meeting with Biden’s campaign manager.

Earlier in the day, Biden received a warm welcome from Michigan officials and UAW representatives, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and UAW President Shawn Fain. The itinerary included stops at a Black-owned sports bar in Harper Woods and a local restaurant.

Protesters, both supporting and opposing Biden, made their voices heard during the visit, reflecting the complex and contentious issues surrounding the President’s policies and decisions.

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