Trump Praises NYPD Raid on Pro-Palestinian Student Protests at Columbia University

Donald Trump praised the NYPD for swiftly responding to pro-Palestinian student protests at Columbia University and City College, arresting around 300 protesters. The protests, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and university divestment from companies with military ties to Israel, were met with a forceful police response.

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Israel Ojoko
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Trump Praises NYPD Raid on Pro-Palestinian Student Protests at Columbia University

Trump Praises NYPD Raid on Pro-Palestinian Student Protests at Columbia University

Former US President Donald Trump commended the New York Police Department (NYPD) for swiftly responding to pro-Palestinian student protests at Columbia University and City College in New York.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump described the protesters as "raging lunatics and Hamas sympathizers" university, thing and praised the NYPD for restoring order in just two hours.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the growing tensions on US campuses surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with implications for free speech, academic freedom, and campus safety. The incident highlights the growing tensions on US campuses surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with implications for free speech, academic freedom, and campus safety.

With the 2024 presidential election approaching, the issue is likely to become increasingly politicized, influencing the national conversation on law and order, student activism, and Middle East policy.

The protests erupted as hundreds of anti-israel demonstrators erected an encampment on the CUNY campus and illegally occupied an academic building at Columbia University. The NYPD swiftly raided the two campuses, arresting around 300 protesters. Students were escorted off campus, some with their hands zip-tied behind their backs and loaded onto law enforcement buses.

Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election, seized on the opportunity to showcase his tough stance on campus unrest. "New York was under siege last night," he declared at the rally. "But the police came in and in exactly two hours everything was over. It was a beautiful thing to watch. New York's finest."

The former president went on to describe the NYPD's tactical response in graphic detail. "You saw them go up and ladders, breaking the windows and getting in – and that's dangerous because you don't know what's on the other side of that window,"he said. "And they went in – they knocked it out – and they were incredible. They did a great job."

Columbia University released a statement explaining their decision to involve law enforcement. "A little after 9 p.m. this evening, the NYPD arrived on campus at the University's request. This decision was made to restore safety and order to our community," the statement read. "After the University learned overnight that Hamilton Hall had been occupied, vandalized, and blockaded, we were left with no choice. Columbia public safety personnel were forced out of the building, and a member of our facilities team was threatened. We will not risk the safety of our community or the potential for further escalation."

The student protesters are demanding an immediate ceasefire in the war on Gaza and for their universities to divest from companies with military ties to Israel. The protests come amidst a wave of student activism against the war across the US, which Trump and other Republican lawmakers have sought to capitalize on by highlighting concerns over campus unrest and accusing some university administrators of ignoring antisemitic rhetoric and harassment.

Many student organizers claim to be peaceful and have disavowed violence against pro-Israel counter-protesters, although some Jewish students have reported feeling unsafe on campus because of chants they deem antisemitic. The October 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas militants and the ensuing Israeli offensive on the Palestinian enclave have sparked the largest outpouring of US student activism since anti-racism protests in 2020.

Trump blames Democratic President Joe Biden for the turmoil, despite Biden's condemnation of physical intimidation and antisemitism, and his support for peaceful protests advocating for humanitarian aid in Gaza and university divestment from companies supporting the Israeli military. The police response at Columbia has drawn condemnation from some faculty, with the University Senate approving a resolution criticizing the administration for undermining academic freedom and disregarding student and faculty rights.

The 2024 presidential race is heating up, and the issue of campus protests and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to remain a contentious topic. Trump's praise for the NYPD's forceful response and his call for a nationwide crackdown on protests signal his intent to make law and order a central theme of his campaign. However, critics argue that such heavy-handed tactics risk infringing on students' First Amendment rights and could further inflame tensions on already divided campuses.

Key Takeaways

  • Donald Trump praised the NYPD for swiftly responding to pro-Palestinian student protests at Columbia University and City College.
  • Trump described protesters as "raging lunatics and Hamas sympathizers" and praised the NYPD for restoring order in 2 hours.
  • 300 protesters were arrested, and students were escorted off campus with zip-tied hands.
  • The protests demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and university divestment from companies with military ties to Israel.
  • The incident highlights growing tensions on US campuses surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.