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Speaker Johnson suggests sending National Guard to Columbia if protests do not die down

Johnson said he plans to take what he has witnessed in New York back to Washington D.C., and inform President Joe Biden on the situation. 

Published: April 24, 2024 6:13pm

House Speaker Mike Johnson slammed the ongoing protests at Columbia University in an address on Wednesday, even threatening to call for the National Guard to get involved.

Johnson visited the Ivy League campus to visit with Jewish students who have been harassed and threatened by pro-Palestine demonstrators. The protests have been going on for one week at Columbia, but have also broken out at other colleges and universities nationwide. More than 100 protesters at Columbia have been arrested by the New York Police Department so far.

The speaker, who was accompanied by North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx, blamed school officials for letting the situation get out of hand.

 “[They have let] threats, the fear and the intimidation of the mob rule overtake American principles like free speech and the free exchange of ideas and the free exercise of religion,” Johnson said in his speech, per Fox News. “We just can’t allow this kind of hatred and enemy antisemitism to flourish on our campuses, and it must be stopped in its tracks.”

Johnson said he plans to take what he has witnessed in New York back to Washington D.C., and discuss the situation with President Joe Biden. 

“If this is not contained quickly and if these threats and intimidation are not stopped, there is an appropriate time for the National Guard. We have to bring order to these campuses,” Johnson said. “We cannot allow this to happen around the country.”

Foxx, who serves as the chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, urged Columbia President Minouche Shafik to step up and regain control of her university. Several Republican lawmakers signed a letter calling for Shafik’s resignation. 

“Take back control, all of this once great institution. You took action last week, it’s time to act again. If not, the committee will pursue every possible avenue to create a safe learning environment for Jewish students,” Foxx said.

Other lawmakers have also visited the campus this week, while the House of Representatives is on a one-week break. Four Jewish Democratic lawmakers toured the school on Monday, including Reps. Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey, Dan Goldman from New York, Jared Moskowitz from Florida, and Kathy Manning from North Carolina. 

Gottheimer said the protests were a “new low,” according to Axios.

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