HomeForeignTrump Hails Police Raiding Columbia Varsity Protesters

Trump Hails Police Raiding Columbia Varsity Protesters

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Wednesday it “was a beautiful thing to watch” New York police officers raiding a Columbia University building occupied by pro-Palestinian students, and called on officials to crack down on campus protests across the United States.

“New York was under siege last night,” Trump told supporters at a campaign rally in Wisconsin, praising the police officers for arresting about 300 protesters at Columbia and City College of New York who he referred to as “raging lunatics and Hamas sympathizers.”

While what the student protesters are seeking varies school to school, many are demanding for an immediate ceasefire in the war on Gaza and that their universities divest from companies with military ties to Israel.

Trump comments addressed the spread of student protests against the war in Gaza across the US in recent days, seeking to capitalize on concern over campus unrest.

Republican lawmakers have accused some university administrators of ignoring antisemitic rhetoric and harassment. Many student organizers say they are peaceful and have widely disavowed violence against pro-Israel counter-protesters, although some Jewish students have said they feel unsafe on campus and unnerved by chants they say are anti-semitic.

“I say remove the encampments immediately, vanquish the radicals and take back our campuses for all of the normal students who want a safe place from which to learn,” Trump said.

The Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip and the ensuing Israeli offensive on the Palestinian enclave have unleashed the biggest outpouring of US student activism since anti-racism protests in 2020.

The police response at Columbia has triggered condemnations from some Columbia faculty.

Last week, the Columbia University Senate approved a resolution saying the school’s administration had undermined academic freedom and disregarded the rights of students and faculty by calling in the police and shutting down protests.

Trump sought to pin the blame for the turmoil on Democratic President Joe Biden, whose aides have condemned physical intimidation and antisemitism, while speaking out in support peaceful protests, which have advocated for humanitarian aid in Gaza and the university divestment from companies supporting the Israeli military.

Trump also criticized a possible move by the Biden administration – outlined by US White House press secretary on Wednesday — to relocate some Palestinian refugees who are related to Americans to the US

During his presidency Trump pursued a hard line on immigration. At times he has used dehumanizing terminology to describe refugees and immigrants in the country illegally, rhetoric that his critics say is aimed at generating fear and energizing his political base.

“Your towns and villages will now be accepting people from Gaza and various other places,” Trump said, eliciting boos from the crowd. “Under no circumstances shall we bring thousands of refugees.”

Last week, Trump described the pro-Palestinian protests as driven by “tremendous hate” while asserting that the violence at a 2017 white nationalist rally with some Trump supporters in Charlottesville, Virginia, when he was president was small by comparison.

Trump was staging rallies on Wednesday in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan as polls show him locked in a close race with Biden ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

Trump’s visit to the two swing states marked his first major campaign events since the April 15 start of his New York criminal trial, in which he is accused of falsifying business records concerning a hush money payment to a porn star.

REUTERS

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