BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — While President Joe Biden’s speech in Belvidere on Thursday went pretty much according to plan, two relatively unexpected events did punctuate Biden’s remarks.
Biden’s speech was momentarily paused early on after a protestor yelled for the president to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, referring to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that has killed over 10,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis.
“President Biden, you need to call for a ceasefire in Gaza,” said the protestor, who continued until being quickly drowned out by boos, groans and eventually cheers from the crowd.
Biden was empathetic towards the protestor, saying the outburst was “okay,” and to let the protestor go before returning to his speech.
Outside, protestors called for Biden to support Palestinians. “We want [Biden] to hear our voice and hear us talking about ceasefire now and stop the genocide,” said Rami Abuma Smah. “Stop supporting one side and be fair. Don’t be just supporting one side in expense of the other and let other people, the indigenous people of Palestine, have more suffering. This needs to stop right now and we need to compensate them for his loss.”
The president also took a comedic jab at political rival Donald Trump, referring to him as “the distinguished… anyway,” and making the “sign of the cross” during his commentary on the country’s electric vehicle policy.
“80 percent of electric vehicles on the road today were made in America, and that means good-paying jobs for American auto workers,” said Biden. “Let’s think about this. When my predecessor, the distinguished… anyway. When my predecessor was in office, six factories closed across the country.”
After departing Belvidere, President Biden traveled to Chicago for a campaign reception before heading back to Washington D.C.