‘I’m only teasing’: Biden jokes about hitting journalist with truck when asked about Israel

Thousands of protesters in Dearborn, Michigan call on White House to condemn airstrikes and forced removals of Palestinians as president toured Ford plant

Alex Woodward
New York
Tuesday 18 May 2021 22:47
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Biden tells Tlaib he is praying for her family in West Bank.mp4

Following a tour of the automaker’s facility in Dearborn, Michigan, President Joe Biden took a surprise test drive of Ford’s F150 Lightning, an electric version of the manufacturer’s signature truck.

“This sucker’s quick,” the president said from the driver’s seat as he pulled up to reporters on Ford’s test track.

The president toured the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to promote his ambitious domestic energy agenda and his American Jobs Plan, a $2.2 trillion infrastructure-focused package grounded in addressing the climate crisis and repairing economic disparities with a sweeping set of proposals, including promoting electric vehicle manufacturing and research and development.

But his visit was largely overshadowed by urgent demands for his administration to address the growing crisis in Israel and Palestine, with thousands of protesters around Dearborn – which is 47 per cent Arab American, with one of the largest Muslim populations in the US – calling on the president to pressure Israel’s government to end military strikes in Gaza and to condemn the forced removal of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem.

Asked by a reporter whether they could ask him a question about Israel before driving off in the Ford truck, he said, “No, you can’t.”

“Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it. I’m only teasing,” said the president, moments before speeding away.

From his remarks inside the Ford plant, the president promoted union labour and investments in research and development to put the US on competitive footing with other countries.

“My name is Joe Biden,” the president said after jogging to the podium to begin his remarks. “And I’m a car guy.”

The America Jobs Plan proposes tax incentives for low-emission vehicle purchases and federal funding for charging stations across the US, among other measures aimed at updating American manufacturing.

A fact sheet from the White House says that the plan would “accelerate our domestic [electric vehicle] industry by driving demand for advanced cars and trucks, reinvigorating our automotive sector and battery manufacturing, deploying a national network of chargers, and advancing our innovation capacity for the next generation of technology.”

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