Sen. Kaine says sending National Guard to college campus protests would be 'very, very bad idea'

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Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Sunday advised against sending the National Guard onto college campuses to quell the pro-Palestinian protests occurring across the country, calling the prospect a “very, very bad idea.”

“I think calling in the National Guard to college campuses for so many people would recall what happened when that was done during the Vietnam War, and it didn’t end well. The National Guard going to college campuses, Kent State and elsewhere, did not end well,” Kaine said Sunday on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.”

“And I think that would be a very, very bad idea. I think there are other ways using campus security but also again, offering students more opportunities to have dialogue that is – that is civil and constructive where people hear one another,” he continued.

Some GOP lawmakers have suggested the White House send in the National Guard as protests over the Israel-Hamas war roil college campuses across the country. Several schools authorized local and state police to break up the protests and hundreds of students have been arrested as a result.

The White House last week shut down Johnson’s and others’ calls for the National Guard, and White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre maintained the issue is not up to the president, but rather the governors.

Protests have continued for more than a week, many of which are reported to be peaceful. Concerns have been raised, however, over the spread of antisemitic rhetoric and the subsequent safety of Jewish students.

Other lawmakers have voiced concerns over the National Guard coming onto campus, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who argued college presidents should be the “first line of defense.”

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