Biden Talks About Roads, Bridges, While Protesters Shout About Death in Gaza

Milwaukee, Wisconsin — U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday visited Wisconsin, a key swing state that he narrowly won in 2020, meeting with community members at a once shuttered but now thriving children’s community center to sell them on how he believes his economic policies are making their lives better.

Biden’s approval ratings in the Badger State have recently slumped, and on Wednesday afternoon, as Biden chatted privately with campaign volunteers at his new campaign headquarters in Milwaukee, less than a block away, several dozen protesters took aim at one reason why.

“Free, free, free Palestine!” the group members yelled as they waved Palestinian flags.

“Hey, Joe, what do you say, how many kids did you kill today,” they also shouted.

Inside the White House’s carefully managed events on Wednesday, the scene was different. Biden announced $3.3 billion in initiatives aimed at fixing transportation and infrastructure. He did not, during his public remarks, mention Gaza or any foreign policy issues.

“Everything we’re doing is connecting people with opportunity, not disconnecting people from opportunity,” Biden said, speaking at a community sports center that was shuttered during the pandemic but has since reopened.

“These projects will increase access to health care, schools, jobs, and will strengthen communities by covering highways with public spaces, creating new transit routes, adding sidewalks, bridges, bike lanes and more,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said to reporters aboard Air Force One.

The White House referred questions to the campaign when asked if Biden would meet with any Arab Americans in Wisconsin or Michigan, where he heads Thursday.

VOA asked Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, whether Biden had met — or would meet — with any concerned parties about the situation in Gaza.

“President Biden believes that every person’s life is profoundly valuable,” he replied. “From Palestine, Israel and around the world. He’s working to move forward towards a just and peaceful enduring solution, as he said in the State of the Union address. And that is the thing that will make the biggest difference for the profound feelings that people have about this crisis.”

The two main political contenders are taking a very different approach in this Midwestern state.

Biden said success in a closely contested state like Wisconsin “comes down to knocking on doors.”

On Wednesday, he lingered inside his new Wisconsin campaign headquarters — in the largest city, Milwaukee — where he met with Democratic volunteers behind closed doors for more than an hour.

Meanwhile, supporters of Biden rival Donald Trump this week submitted petitions in Wisconsin to force a recall election against the state’s top Republican, who refused calls to decertify Biden’s legitimate, narrow win in 2020.

When asked if the Biden campaign had faith in the state’s election process, Wikler was emphatic.

“Wisconsin has consistently been rated as among the best states in the country when it comes to administering elections,” he said. “That system allows us to have elections up and down the ballot where voters can trust the outcome.”

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