Home » Biden world reacts to Morehouse backlash, signals president may address concerns in speech

Biden world reacts to Morehouse backlash, signals president may address concerns in speech

by The Grio

After some backlash to last week’s announcement that President Joe Biden will deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College, officials from within the president’s orbit tell theGrio the president hears those concerns loud and clear, and may even address them in his upcoming speech later this month. 

“What he has been doing and will continue to do leading up to the speech is listening very closely to all the concerns raised and making sure that he addresses them either in the speech or separate and apart from that,” said Stephen Benjamin, senior adviser to President Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He added, “The war is obviously a significant issue of discussion … all around the country. Probably most vividly on college campuses right now.” 

Since Morehouse President David A. Thomas announced President Biden as the keynote speaker for the all-male college’s 140th commencement on May 19, a number of students, faculty and alumni expressed opposition as a result of the Biden administration’s policy to support Israel’s military operation in Gaza against Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group, resulting in the deaths of more than 34,000 Palestinians. 

Outraged over the war and Biden’s role in it were expressed in a campus town hall between Morehouse students and President Thomas, as well as a letter circulated amongst Morehouse alumni that called the invitation to the president a “moral disaster and an embarrassment to the college.”

Cedric Richmond, national co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign and a Morehouse alumnus, told theGrio that he is “proud” of the Morehouse student body for “being engaged” and “caring about human life.”

“The president is also concerned about civilian casualties, Palestinian people and their safety,” added Richmond, who noted that the president has “criticized” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of…

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