Saturday, May 25, 2024

Speaking at Columbia University, House Speaker Johnson Calls on School’s President to Resign

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to resign Wednesday in a speech at the embattled Ivy League university.

Anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian protests and encampments have taken over large swaths of the New York college’s campus and those of other campuses in the past week following Shafik’s House testimony on antisemitism. During that April 17 hearing, Shafik was grilled by Republicans about her inability to stop acts of antisemitism on her campus and to control the chaos.

Protests at the school have since escalated.

On Tuesday, Columbia announced that its classes would endorse a hybrid model, in which students could choose to go remote for the rest of the school year.

In his speech, which was met with frequent heckling and booing, Johnson, R-La., said that this hybrid model was unacceptable and that it’s being used to discriminate against Jewish students.

“They’re not allowed to come to class anymore for fear of their lives,” he said.

Johnson condemned the people who had gathered on campus and threatened Jewish students.

“I’m here to proclaim to all those who gnash their teeth and demand to wipe the state of Israel off the map and attack our innocent Jewish students this simple truth: Neither Israel, nor these Jewish students on this campus will ever stand alone,” he said.

The House speaker said that Hamas put out an “endorsement statement” of the protesters at the Columbia campus, calling them the “future leaders of America.”

“This is detestable,” Johnson said.

The Louisiana lawmaker noted that a growing number of protesters and students at Columbia have chanted in support of terrorists.

“They’ve told Jewish students who wear the Star of David to leave the country, and shamefully, some students and faculty have joined the mob,” he said.

Johnson condemned the violence that has taken place during the protests and said that the school has allowed “lawless radicals” to take over. This “virus” of antisemitism has now spread to hundreds of college campuses, he said. “The madness has to stop.”

The House speaker called on Columbia’s president to restore order or step aside.

“I am here today joining my colleagues and calling on President Shafik to resign if she cannot immediately bring order to this chaos,” he said.

At one point during Johnson’s comments, students began chanting and yelling loudly. Johnson paused briefly and said, “Enjoy your free speech.”

Columbia continues to be criticized by various public figures for its response to the protests.

On Monday, Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, announced that he would stop donating to the school, his alma mater.

Kraft said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country” and that he is no longer “comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken.”