Top White House officials to travel to Michigan for outreach to Muslim and Arab Americans



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USAID administrator Samantha Powers, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez and other senior White House officials will travel to Michigan on Thursday to hear from community leaders amid anger from Arab and Muslim Americans over President Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza.

The officials will hear from community leaders on a range of issues important to them in Michigan, including the conflict in Israel and Gaza, a White House official told The Hill.

Powers and Perez will be joined by 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.

It is unclear where in Michigan the group will meet with community leaders. Biden traveled to Michigan last week, but his trip did not include a visit to Dearborn, where Arab Americans make up a majority of the population, nor did it include any meetings with Arab American leaders. 

Protests were held in Dearborn the night before his visit and demonstrations that included signs reading “Abandon Biden” followed him to a union hall stop in Warren, Mich.

CNN first reported about the upcoming meeting in Michigan on Thursday.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters last week that senior Biden administration officials would travel to Michigan in the coming days “to hear directly from community leaders on a range of issues that are important to them and their families, including the conflict in Israel and Gaza.”

The White House has faced questions over its engagement with Arab and Muslim Americans after protests have taken place across the country to call for a ceasefire in the conflict, a move the Biden administration has argued would only help Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.



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