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  5. Biden campaign official says 'uncommitted' Michigan voters should remember that Trump 'wants to have a Muslim ban'

Biden campaign official says 'uncommitted' Michigan voters should remember that Trump 'wants to have a Muslim ban'

Bryan Metzger   

Biden campaign official says 'uncommitted' Michigan voters should remember that Trump 'wants to have a Muslim ban'
  • Many of Michigan's "uncommitted" voters are Arab Americans or Muslim Americans.
  • A top Biden campaign official says they need to remember that Trump pushed a Muslim ban.

President Joe Biden's has a problem in Michigan, and it remains unclear if his campaign knows how to address it.

On Tuesday, over 100,000 Democrats marked their ballots as "uncommitted" rather than vote for Biden in the presidential primary, accounting for just over 13% of the vote.

Many — though not all — of those voters are Arab Americans and Muslim Americans who live in the southeastern part of the state, particularly in and around the city of Dearborn. Some have even had family members in recent months amid Israel's war in Gaza.

The "Listen to Michigan" campaign, backed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib and managed by her younger sister, had urged Democrats in the state to vote "uncommitted" to push the Biden administration towards implementing a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and ceasing military support for Israel.

In an NPR interview released Thursday, Mitch Landrieu — the former mayor of New Orleans and the national co-chair of Biden's reelection campaign — suggests that those voters needed to be made more aware of former President Donald Trump's agenda, including the so-called "Muslim ban" that he enacted early in his presidency.

"We're going to continue to talk to them and then ask them to think about the choices and what the consequences are about electing somebody who wants to have a Muslim ban, electing somebody who is going to be much, much worse than the difficult circumstances that we have right now," said Landrieu.

The former New Orleans mayor also noted that Biden campaign and administration officials have met with community leaders in Michigan in recent weeks, and that Israel's ongoing bombardment of Gaza is a "very difficult issue."

In response, Listen to Michigan campaign manager Layla Elabed fired back.

"It's deeply offensive that President Biden keeps suggesting he has a messaging issue among Arab Americans and young people rather than a funding bombs issue," said Elabed. "Biden's re-election chances will be judged by how much of Gaza is left standing by November."

The campaign followed that up with a tweet accusing Biden of using Trump as a "human shield."

The Listen to Michigan campaign has been explicit about its intnetions to leverage votes in the crucial battleground state: Trump won Michigan by roughly 10,700 votes in 2016, far less than the 100,000 who voted "uncommitted" on Tuesday.

And they've made clear that they're not interested in a "lesser of two evils" argument.

"President Biden himself, by failing to call for a ceasefire, is on track to deliver the presidency back to Donald Trump and his white supremacist buddies," said Abbas Alawieh, a spokesperson for Listen to Michigan, in a call with reporters earlier this month.

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