Trump Allies Hope His Daughter Tiffany’s Father-in-Law Can Help Flip Arab American Votes in Michigan

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

LANSING, Mich. (AP/Hamodia) — One of Donald Trump’s emissaries to Arab Americans is a Lebanese-born businessman who moved to Texas as a teenager, speaks Arabic, English and French, and recently joined the Trump family when his son married the former president’s younger daughter.

Massad Boulos has taken on the challenge of trying to convince a politically influential community angry at President Joe Biden that Trump is a better option. But many Arab Americans also note Trump has positioned himself as more pro-Israel than Biden and has made a series of comments and policy announcements that critics blast as anti-Muslim.

Trump has long put family members and their relatives in key roles in his campaigns and the White House. Boulos, whose son Michael married Tiffany Trump two years ago, is the latest relative to rise in Trump’s political orbit as he uses long-standing connections in an effort to build support for the presumptive Republican nominee’s 2024 campaign.

Some Trump allies think they can capitalize on dissension within Biden’s Democratic base over his support for the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Biden faced a significant protest vote during the Michigan primary February in areas with high numbers of Arab Americans, who are an important Democratic bloc.

“Obviously the No. 1 point that is of high priority within the Arab American community is the current war in the Middle East,” Boulos said in an interview. “And the question is, who can bring peace and who is bringing war? And they know the answer to that.”

Several of the people who have met with Boulos also point to Trump’s statements about Arabs and Muslims. While president, Trump banned immigration from several majority-Muslim countries, due to the increased threat of terrorism. Now, as he campaigns for a second term after losing in 2020, Trump has at times criticized Biden for being insufficiently supportive of Israel and has threatened to deport anti-Israel protesters who support the Hamas terror group.

“I told Massad, ‘This isn’t about you being Lebanese and me being Lebanese,'” said Osama Siblani, a publisher of the Arab American News in Dearborn. “You can’t just buy votes. You have to give something substantial to the community. And Trump hasn’t done that yet.”

According to Siblani, Boulos argued that things were better for Arab Americans under Trump and that the world saw less conflict and fewer wars during his presidency, suggesting Trump could help resolve the Gaza conflict.

But when Siblani pushed back, he said that Boulos lacked “facts to prove his claim that Trump is better.”

“Massad is unable to convince people to come to Trump’s side because he hasn’t offered anything substantial to the community, except that his son is married to Trump’s daughter and he has access,” Siblani said. “That is fine, but what we need is policy and what Trump will do.”

The key messages arising from these meetings, Boulos said, are communicated to Trump. Boulos highlighted a recent social media post from Trump that promised to bring “peace in the Middle East” if reelected, as evidence. Boulos asserted that the timing of the post “wasn’t a coincidence” but rather a response to “listening to the community’s concerns.”

Some in the community still feel that there are other options than just Trump and Biden. Green Party candidate Jill Stein visited Dearborn this year to meet with leaders and recently had conversations with the city’s mayor, Abdullah Hammoud, about the possibility of him becoming her running mate.

Hammoud, at 34 years old, is ineligible to serve as vice president. The U.S. Constitution requires both the president and vice president to be at least 35.

Officials in Biden’s administration have also visited Dearborn to meet with local leaders and have maintained ongoing contact with them, including Siblani.

Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, criticized Trump allies’ outreach, saying in a statement that Trump “is the biggest threat to the Muslim and Arab community.”

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