Biden reacts to pro-Palestinian protesters: 'They have a point'


President Joe Biden responded to pro-Palestinian protesters who interrupted his health care speech on Tuesday, saying that “they have a point.”

Two protesters were escorted out of the Raleigh, North Carolina, venue after they cut off the president mid-remarks, shouting, “What about the health care in Gaza?”

“Everybody deserves health care,” Biden said, as the protesters yelled that hospitals in Gaza were being bombed and alleged that Biden was “complicit in genocide.” The president asked the audience to “be patient with them.”

“They have a point,” Biden said after the protesters were escorted out. “We need to get a lot more care into Gaza.”

Members of the audience cheered and gave the president a standing ovation.

Pro-Palestinian protesters were also gathered outside of the event space, a relatively common occurrence for the president in recent months.

Biden has faced numerous anti-war protests during his events in the months since the Israel-Hamas war began Oct. 7, and especially as calls have grown for his administration to take stronger action on the civilian death toll in Gaza. In the weeks after he was interrupted about a dozen times during a January abortion rights speech, his team worked to minimize disruptions by making Biden’s events smaller and withholding their precise locations longer than usual.

A protester yells support for Gaza  (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images)A protester yells support for Gaza  (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images)

A protester yells support for Gaza (Brendan Smialowski / AFP – Getty Images)

Biden, who has been pressed by many in his party to address humanitarian needs more forcefully, has increased political pressure on Israel’s government to allow more aid in Gaza, though he has not called for cutting off U.S. weapon sales to Israel.

During his State of the Union address this month, Biden announced that he was directing the U.S. military to establish a “temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast” for aid delivery. Also this month, the U.S. began airdropping humanitarian aid into Gaza.

At the same time, Biden and top allies have ramped up criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s approach to the war. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S., recently called for new elections to replace Netanyahu. Biden later praised the New York Democrat’s speech, adding that Schumer “expressed a serious concern shared not only by him but by many Americans.”

Biden’s speech in North Carolina on Tuesday centered around his administration’s work to preserve and expand health care, hinging on the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. Biden, who served as vice president when the ACA was passed by Congress, has made preserving access to health care a central part of his re-election bid.

During his remarks, Biden pointed to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the ACA, as well as Trump bragging about being “able to kill Roe v. Wade.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump posted to Truth Social that he was “not running to terminate the ACA,” adding that he wanted to make the ACA “much better, stronger, and far less expensive.” However, Trump said just last year that he wanted to replace the ACA and that he was “seriously looking at alternatives.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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