Updated Jan 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Protesters calling for Gaza ceasefire interrupt Biden speech in S.C.

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College January 5, 2024 in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

President Biden speaks during a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College on Jan. 5 in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza briefly interrupted President Biden on Monday during a speech in Charleston, South Carolina.

Driving the news: About half a dozen protesters were quickly escorted out of the event as the crowd chanted "four more years," in what could be seen as a microcosm of the deep divide among Democrats over response to the Israel-Hamas war.

  • "I understand their passion and I've been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza," Biden said in response.

Zoom out: The protest came during the second major campaign speech for Biden in recent days as he seeks to cast former President Trump, the frontrunner to become the GOP nominee, as an existential threat to democracy.

  • Biden spoke Monday at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., where a white supremacist murdered nine members of the Black congregation in a 2015 mass shooting.
  • Biden called white supremacy a "poison" during his remarks and said that "throughout our history, it has ripped this nation apart."
  • "This has no place in America, not today, tomorrow, or ever," he said.

Zoom in: Biden again slammed Trump over his false claims about the 2020 presidential election and called the former president a "loser" for not accepting the results.

  • "Losers are taught to concede when they lose, and he's a loser," Biden said.

State of play: Biden, who has struggled to build support from young, Black and Hispanic voters, sought to connect with dissatisfied Black supporters during his Monday swing through the state.

  • "The President will take the campaign's message to South Carolina where he will deliver remarks at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, a venue that embodies the stakes for the nation at this moment," the Biden campaign said in a statement on Sunday.

Go deeper: Biden will target Trump in speech at war site on Jan. 6 anniversary

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional details from the event.

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