Joe Biden privately apologized and vowed to ‘do better’ to a group of Muslim Americans for casting ‘excessive skepticism’ over the number of Palestinian deaths released by the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.
The president, 81, faced five Muslim community figureheads who were irate one day after he publicly dismissed a Palestinian death toll on October 25. One person organizing the meeting said the process was a ‘s**tshow.’
At the press conference at the White House, Biden – who has been steadfast in his support of Israel since October 7 – said: ‘I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed.’
The next day on October 26, Biden had fraught discussions with five community public figures who were incensed by his comments. Their group back-and-forth went over Biden’s allotted scheduled time by 30 minutes.
All five attendees had been hand-picked by the White House.
President Joe Biden pictured at a press conference Wednesday, October 25, 2023. Biden said: ‘I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,’ which angered the focus group
The guest list included, according to the Washington Post: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Chicago-based Rami Nashashibi, interfaith leader Imam Mohamed Magid, Muslim lobbyist Wa’el Alzayat, and health-care advocate Suzanne Barakat.
One person involved in the talks told the Washington Post: ‘Why are you sitting down with him without any agreement that he’s going to retract that statement and apologize?
‘What seat at the table are you negotiating, the toilet seat?’
One participant, speaking to the Post, said the goal was to press Biden on the issue of ceasefire. The invitees were ‘livid’ that Biden was debating the fatality data just one day before – rather than accepting that thousands were being killed in Gaza.
Because Hamas, the terrorist organization who slaughtered 1,300 Israelis, are the body who release Gaza’s death toll, the numbers were approached with caution at the beginning of the conflict.
All five at Biden’s meeting said that they knew people that were affected by the ordeal in Gaza.
One of the people present said they’d lost 100 members of their family.
It was at this point Biden allegedly apologized for his words and actions.
He reportedly told them: ‘I’m sorry. I’m disappointed in myself. I will do better.’
Imam Mohamed Magid and Suzanne Barakat were among the five at the meeting with Biden
Rami Nashashibi, a Chicago-based Muslim community organizer and Wa’el Alzayat, of the Muslim lobbying group Emgage, who were both involved in the meeting
Keith Ellison, attorney general of Minnesota
One attendee told the Post: ‘We said, ‘Palestinians are dying. We’re not okay with the numbers of their dead being disputed.’
The meeting was only meant to run for 30 minutes – but instead it went on for more than an hour.
The president ended up hugging one of the participants and vowed to ‘do better.’
Keith Ellison, who was one of the five in attendance, told the Washington Post: ‘Muslim community leaders told President Biden that the suffering of innocent Gazans trying to survive in extremely difficult circumstances has actually increased the likelihood of Islamophobic attacks in the United States.
‘The President listened carefully, responded sincerely, and showed empathy and compassion for the suffering of everyone. I am hopeful he will act on that empathy.’
Biden and his officials have been meeting with various groups of Muslim, Palestinian, and Arab Americans in recent weeks as the conflict in the Middle East continues to divide public opinion.
And the war could also have effects on Biden’s prospects for 2024. Swing states, like Michigan, have dense Arab American communities whose opinions on Biden’s reaction to the conflict will be fresh in their minds when going to the polls next year.
As it stands, the terrorist-run Ministry of Health reports more than 14,000 people have been killed in Gaza.
Some 10,000 of those are believed to be women and children, NYTimes reports.
An aerial view of heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks during third day of the humanitarian pause in Khan Yunis, Gaza
Palestinians sit on a couch amid wreckage of the residential areas
On Sunday night, a young American orphan who turned four while she was a hostage of Hamas was one of nine child and teenage hostages terror group Hamas handed over to the Red Cross.
A total of thirteen Israelis, two Thai nationals and a person from Russia have now been freed by the militant group, including four-year-old Israeli-American Abigail Idan, whose parents were killed during Hamas’ deadly October 7 incursion.
The other children, held by Hamas for the last seven weeks in Gaza’s underground tunnels, have been named as: Ella Elyakim, eight, Dafna Elyakim, 15, Ofri Brodutch, 10, Yuval Brodutch, eight, Oriya Brodutch, four, Agam Goldstein, 17, Tal Goldstein, nine, and Gal Goldstein, 11.
Other hostages released today, as part of the Hamas-Israel deal that will see around 50 women and children held by the terror group released in exchange for a brief ceasefire, include: Hagar Brodutch, 39, Chen Goldstein, 48, Alma Avraham, 84, and Adrian Aviva Siegel, 63.
All but one of the 13 Israeli hostages have been taken to Israel, while one elderly Israeli woman was taken to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, along with Thai and Russian nationals who were seen being driven in a Red Cross van.
It comes as Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was committed to returning the roughly 200 hostages held by Hamas.