Biden appears to clap after Morehouse grad calls for ‘immediate and permanent cease-fire’ in Gaza during commencement

Biden appears to clap after Morehouse grad calls for ‘immediate and permanent cease-fire’ in Gaza during commencement
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President Joe Biden speaks to graduating students at the Morehouse College commencement in Atlanta.

  • Biden appeared to applaud after a Morehouse graduate called for a “permanent” cease-fire in Gaza.
  • The invitation for the president to speak at Morehouse was criticized by many students.
  • Many young people are unhappy with the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

President Joe Biden on Sunday appeared to clap after the valedictorian of Morehouse College called for an “immediate and permanent cease-fire” in Gaza during the school’s commencement ceremony.

In the lead-up to graduation at Morehouse, a prestigious historically Black men’s college in Atlanta, many students opposed Biden speaking at the ceremony, frustrated by his administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

DeAngelo Fletcher, the Morehouse valedictorian, gave an impassioned speech during the commencement, where he didn’t shy away from his stance regarding the conflict.

“From the comforts of our homes, we watched unprecedented numbers of civilians mourn the loss of men, women, and children, while calling for the release of all hostages,” he said. “For the first time in our lives, we’ve heard the global community sing one harmonious song that transcends language and culture. It is my stance as a Morehouse man — nay, as a human being — to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza strip.”

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Biden appeared to applaud Fletcher’s comments, which also attracted cheers from many of the graduates.

“Hear the people of this world. Sing the song of righteous justice,” Fletcher concluded in his remarks.

The graduation ceremony revealed a stark generational divide. Many young alumni questioned the Biden invitation while older alumni and top university figures were largely supportive of Biden coming to Morehouse.

Morehouse College President David Thomas indicated during a recent NPR interview that he was prepared to end the ceremony if disruptions became so severe that they could warrant police intervention.

“The last thing that we want to do is create a moment where someone is taken out of commencement by law enforcement because they are being disruptive,” he told the outlet last week. “Faced with the choice of having police take people out of the Morehouse commencement in zip ties, we would essentially cancel or discontinue the commencement services on the spot.”

During the interview, Thomas said that “silent non-disruptive protests” would be permitted during Biden’s speech.

Some graduates turned their backs on the president as he spoke, The Atlanta Voice reported. Several Morehouse graduates also wore keffiyeh scarves, a symbol of Palestinians, around their shoulders as part of their graduation regalia.

Biden, during his speech, said he “heard” the voices of the graduates regarding Gaza.

“I promise you, I hear them. It’s a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he said. “That’s why I’ve called for an immediate cease-fire to stop the fighting. Bring the hostages home.”

The widespread destruction and loss of life in Gaza have diminished Biden’s standing among young voters, as many oppose his administration’s initial support of the Israeli government in the conflict.

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Georgia is a key swing state that Biden won in 2020, but the issue could go a long way in impacting enthusiasm for his campaign, especially among young and Black voters — two groups that he needs to turn out for him if he wants to win the state this time around.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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