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    Jill Biden says Trump 'dangerous to women' in Tucson speech interrupted by Gaza protests

    By Laura Gersony, USA TODAY NETWORK,


    First lady Jill Biden, in Tucson on Saturday, blasted Republican efforts to restrict abortion in a speech that was punctuated by protests over U.S. support of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

    Biden’s speech in Arizona was the second stop in a tour geared towards rallying women voters around her husband, President Joe Biden.

    It's no accident that Arizona is one of the places we've chosen to stop during our launch for ‘Women for Biden’ this weekend . Because four years ago, Arizona, you put us in the White House,” she told the crowd of mostly women at the Fox Tucson Theatre.
    First lady Jill Biden addresses the crowd at Tucson's Fox Theatre. Laura Gersony/The Republic

    Suburban women were a core part of the coalition that helped Democrats take the White House in 2020. The overturning of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade in 2022 has galvanized many voters, and particularly women, to turn out in support of Democrats, and is thought to be a key factor driving Democratic wins in elections since that decision.

    Over the course of the 15-minute-long speech, Biden was interrupted four times by protesters critical of her husband’s handling of the latest wave of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Israel’s military campaign into Gaza, waged in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks, has drawn outcry from progressives within the U.S. over its steep humanitarian toll .

    The crowd drowned out each protester with chants of “four more years.”
    Protestors gather outside the Fox Theatre in Tucson following Jill Biden's speech there. Laura Gersony/The Republic

    Continuing the pointed tone from her first campaign stop in Atlanta, Georgia, Biden took direct aim at her husband’s expected opponent in the general election, former President Donald Trump. Biden portrayed Trump as disrespectful toward women and highlighted his support for abortion restrictions.

    Donald Trump has spent a lifetime tearing us down and devaluing our existence. He mocks women's bodies, disrespects our accomplishments, and brags about assault,” Biden said. “Now he’s bragging about killing Roe v. Wade.”

    Trump last week said he is considering supporting a limit on abortion at 15 weeks into a pregnancy, which is toward the beginning of the second trimester.

    Donald Trump is dangerous to women and to our families. We simply cannot let him win,” Biden continued. “When our bodies are on the line, when our daughters’ futures are at stake, when our country and its freedom hang in the balance, we are immovable and unstoppable.”

    Danielle Allen-Herried, an OB-GYN, introduced Biden on Saturday.

    “Republicans have plans to take this extreme agenda even further by banning abortion nationwide. We can stop them. And that starts here in Arizona,” Allen-Herried said.
    First lady Jill Biden embraces OB-GYN Danielle Allen Herried at Tucson's Fox Theatre. Laura Gersony/The Republic

    Reached for a comment, the Trump campaign referenced the recent death of Laken Riley, a nursing student in Georgia who authorities believe was killed by an undocumented migrant.

    "The horrifying murder of Laken Riley at the hands of an illegal immigrant is every woman's worst nightmare, and Joe Biden's policies have turned our nightmare into reality. Women want a President who will secure our nation's borders, remove violent criminals from our neighborhoods, and build an economy that helps hardworking families thrive ― and that's exactly what President Trump will do,” Karoline Leavitt, national press secretary for the Trump campaign, said in a written statement. “Women know our nation will be safer and more prosperous under Donald Trump than it is under Joe Biden, and that's why President Trump is leading in every single battleground state poll.”

    The same day Biden appeared in Atlanta to launch the "Women for Biden" initiative, the Republican National Committee put out a statement emphasizing a different slate of women’s issues.

    The RNC argued Joe Biden has “taken steps to erase the progress women have fought for” by promoting language designed to be inclusive of transgender people, and that women and families are suffering economically under Joe Biden, citing the president’s high disapproval ratings on that issue.

    “Biden’s radical policies have hurt women across the country, leading to women increasingly rejecting Biden ― and the Democrat Party ― for failing to represent them,” the statement said.

    Jill Biden is leading the "Women for Biden-Harris" initiative in 2024, an effort to mobilize women voters for the Democratic presidential ticket this year. Her Saturday appearance was held at an event honoring the 20th anniversary of the pro-choice political action committee Arizona List.

    Maya Harris, a Democratic policy adviser and the sister of Vice President Kamala Harris, also spoke at the event held just days ahead of Super Tuesday , the day most states hold their presidential primaries or caucuses. Biden has cruised to an easy victory in all of the primary contests so far.

    While the issue of women’s rights may be an electoral strength to Democrats in 2024, progressives’ opposition to his handling of Gaza could be a vulnerability. In Michigan’s Democratic primary last week , the number of protest votes on the issue appeared to exceed the margin by which Trump won the state in 2016.

    Kaliana Venet, one of the protesters who interrupted Biden’s remarks, said she believes Israel is committing a genocide in Gaza and she will “absolutely not” vote for Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

    “I was really disappointed, when we’re talking about celebrating women, and the importance of women in positions of power, that this topic, of the femicide that is happening in Gaza, wasn’t addressed,” she said. “There are women in Gaza having C-sections without anesthesia. There are children in the NICU who are dying because they don’t have power in the incubators."

    Next, the first lady will travel to Nevada and Wisconsin, two other states that are seen as up for grabs in 2024.

    Laura Gersony covers national politics for The Arizona Republic. Reach her at or 480-372-0389.

    This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Jill Biden says Trump 'dangerous to women' in Tucson speech interrupted by Gaza protests

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