Updated May 9th, 2024 at 00:09 IST

Mr President Look At Protests Across US Varsities Before Calling India 'Xenophobic'

Biden's remarks come at a time when the US is reeling in the shadow of massive protests across universities with Israel-Hamas war unfolding on college campuses.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Biden's remarks come at a time when the US is reeling in the shadow of massive protests across universities with Israel-Hamas war unfolding on college campuses. | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: US President Joe Biden, who has been trying to thread a delicate needle to boost his chances of a second term in office, has been going all out in his endeavour to win votes. So far he appears to have very conveniently overlooked the internal affairs and conflicts escalating on American soil, and is instead – in his bid to encash the democratic, liberal vote bank –  is now making rather callous comments on the national and economic policies adopted by other nations.

In his recent remarks suggesting some countries, including India, "didn't accept migrants" and that is why these economies are "stalling so badly economically", Biden went so far as to term these nations "xenophobic".

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It was "xenophobia" that was "hurting the economic growth of these countries", he had said at a fundraising event, according to Reuters.

Ironically, Biden's remarks on countries including India come at a time when the United States is reeling in the shadow of unprecedented protests across universities that have rocked the academic landscape in America with reports of dozens being arrested and several other students staring at academic jeopardy in the face of possible suspensions, and in some cases even expulsions. 

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Biden Turns Deaf Ear to Varsities Protests

For over a week now, the shouts of student protesters have been echoing through the walls of varsities as supporters are joining in demonstrations against the Israel-Hamas war unfolding on college campuses across the US. And oddly enough, Mr. President has not much to say or do about it. Except for maybe delivering a generic statement of condemnation on the “antisemitic protests” and “those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

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With the magnitude of the protests still unravelling, university administrations across the country are using a range of strategies to quell the protests. 

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Thursday, April 25, 2024. Protest camps have sprouted up over the past two weeks at dozens of campuses across the nation. Some schools have set up encampments on campuses, including Harvard University. Others like Boston College have been calm. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

Notably, in contrast to his recent remarks on other nations' “perceived xenophobia”, Biden’s last public comment on the US varsity protests came more than a week ago.

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In a seemingly evident display of hypocrisy, Mr President is choosing to stay mum about student protests and police crackdowns in his own country, even as he is surely “managing time” to comment on the internal matters of other nations.

Tensions at colleges and universities across the US have been building for days as some demonstrators refuse to remove encampments and administrators turn to law enforcement to clear them by force, leading to clashes that have seized attention from politicians and the media alike. But what does it take to grab the attention of Mr. President? One wonders!

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Interestingly, the White House, which has been peppered with questions by reporters, has gone only slightly further than the president. 

On Wednesday, WH press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden is “monitoring the situation closely,” and added that some demonstrations had stepped over a line that separated free speech from unlawful behaviour, Associated Press reported.

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FILE - A passer-by, right, walks through an encampment of tents, Thursday, April 25, 2024, on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, in Cambridge, Mass. Protest camps have sprouted up over the past two weeks at dozens of campuses across the nation. Some schools have set up encampments on campuses, including MIT. Others like Boston College have been calm. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Apart from condemning antisemitism, the White House has been reluctant to directly engage on the issue with Biden's press secretary repeatedly seen deflecting questions during a recent media briefing, US media reports suggest.

Responding to a question on whether protesters should be disciplined by their schools, Biden's press secretary had reportedly said “Universities and colleges make their own decisions” and “We’re not going to weigh in from here.”

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Pressed on whether police should be called in, Biden's office, an AP report said, responded with a mere: “That’s up to the colleges and universities.”

Biden's Hypocrisy

This is not the first time the world is witnessing the hypocrisy of Joe Biden

In 1968, as college campuses convulsed with anger over the Vietnam War, Biden was in law school at Syracuse University. “I’m not big on flak jackets and tie-dyed shirts,” Biden, who has never been much for protesting, had said years later. 

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“You know, that’s not me", he had reportedly said. 

Biden, in his desperate attempts to get under former president Donald Trump's skin, seems set on the path of unleashing mockery, with seemingly no thought having gone into the possible repercussions that the Democratic president could face in terms of jeopardising America's diplomatic ties with other major economies of the world including India.

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Maybe it's time Mr. President looked into the matters of his own country before going so far so as to deliver “unsubstantiated and baseless” remarks regarding the policies adopted by other nations.

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Published May 2nd, 2024 at 17:57 IST