House Speaker McCarthy Condemns 'Lawless' Protests at Columbia University

House Speaker McCarthy condemns 'lawless' pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia, calls for university president's resignation and threatens National Guard deployment.

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House Speaker McCarthy Condemns 'Lawless' Protests at Columbia University

House Speaker McCarthy Condemns 'Lawless' Protests at Columbia University

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held a news conference at Columbia University on April 25, 2024, where he and a delegation of fellow House Republicans condemned the 'lawless' protests against the war in Gaza on campus. McCarthy was joined by House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx, New York Republican Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, Anthony D'Esposito, and Mike Lawler.

The protests at Columbia began in mid-April when pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment and demanded the university divest from Israel amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Police have arrested over 100 activists at Columbia, and the university has allowed students to attend virtual classes until the end of the semester.

McCarthy accused the protesters of supporting Hamas, disrupting campus operations, and failing to respect democracy and free speech. "Go back to class and stop the nonsense," he urged the student protesters. McCarthy and Lawler specifically criticized the protesters after Hamas signaled its approval for their actions.

The House Speaker called on Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to resign if she cannot immediately restore order on campus. "Shafik has shown herself to be a very weak, inept leader who cannot guarantee the safety of Jewish students," McCarthy stated. He rejected claims that the protests were protected free speech and threatened to deploy the National Guard if the demonstrations were not contained.

The Republicans expressed solidarity with Jewish students who were targeted for harassment and promised to explore ways to ensure their safety. McCarthy said he would call President Biden to seek executive action to address the situation.

Why this matters: The protests at Columbia University reflect a growing trend of anti-Israel demonstrations on college campuses across the United States. The involvement of high-profile political figures like House Speaker McCarthy highlights the national significance of these events and their potential impact on US-Israel relations.

Similar protests have occurred at other universities, leading to confrontations with law enforcement and arrests of students. The White House affirmed that President Biden supports free speech and debate on college campuses but condemned hateful rhetoric and violence. As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, the protests at Columbia and other universities are likely to remain a contentious issue, drawing attention from political leaders and the public alike.

Key Takeaways

  • House Speaker McCarthy condemned 'lawless' pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia Univ.
  • Protesters demanded university divest from Israel amid Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
  • McCarthy accused protesters of supporting Hamas, disrupting campus, and violating free speech.
  • McCarthy called for Columbia's president to resign if unable to restore order on campus.
  • Protests reflect growing anti-Israel sentiment on US college campuses, drawing national attention.