Republicans Have Outrageous Response to Columbia University Protest

Republicans have started commenting on the Columbia University protests staged in support of Gaza—and unsurprisingly, the comments have been lackluster, punitive, and completely beside the point.

Columbia University and Barnard College students have been protesting for months against the war in Gaza, including setting up an encampment on campus last week. University officials and police have responded with arrests and disciplinary action, causing the protest, which sought to persuade the institutions to divest from weapons manufacturers and companies doing business with Israel, to spread across the country.

Fox News’s Maria Baritromo called the protests “barbaric” on Tuesday, drawing a completely inaccurate comparison. “And yet, you don’t see the upset that you saw around January 6,” she said, referring to the Capitol insurrection.

Unlike the January 6 riots, there have been no reports of buildings being stormed, or law enforcement getting attacked. And contrary to accusations that the demonstration is inherently antisemitic, the protesters held Jewish Shabbat services over the weekend followed by Muslim evening prayers.

Screenshot of a tweet
Screenshot of a tweet

David Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, thought that protesters should lose their student loan forgiveness. Critics were quick to point out that he was effectively saying that poorer students shouldn’t be able to peacefully protest on campuses.  

Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley demanded that the National Guard be called in to subdue the peaceful protesters. Cotton referred to the protest as “nascent pogroms.”

Such comments are not out of character for these two. Cotton has practically made a career out of calling for violence against peaceful protests, including his infamous “send in the troops” op-ed during the 2020 to Black Lives Matter protests. Hawley, meanwhile, raised his fist right before the January 6 riot—only to be seen running scared through the Capitol once the mob breached the building. 

Meanwhile, in Gaza, mass graves are being discovered, and the death toll keeps rising even as it becomes harder to count. Student protests continue to spread, not just in the U.S., but even overseas. But the discourse in the United States seems to be over offensive language and not offensive military aid, which continues to get majority votes in Congress.