Trump claims ‘paid agitators’ part of Columbia pro-Palestine protests

AP24122070824730 e1714528977282

Former President Trump made unfounded claims Tuesday that pro-Palestine protests at Columbia University contained “paid agitators” as nationwide college campus protests escalate.

Hundreds of New York Police Department officers, many with batons and in riot gear, cleared Columbia University’s protest encampments on Tuesday evening, including arresting students who occupied a campus building.

Trump claimed in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity during the police operation that many of the protesters did not believe in what they were protesting for.

“I really think you have a lot of paid agitators, professional agitators in here too, and I see it all over,” he said. “You know, when you see signs and they’re all identical. That means they’re being paid by a source.” 

“You know, these aren’t hand-painted signs where people would go to their basement and paint something because they really believed that. These are all signs that are identical that made by the same printer,” he continued. “And you know, when you see that that means there’s somebody at the top that’s paying, or a group that’s paying, and they’re doing a great disservice to the world, but they’re doing a great disservice to our country.”

There is no evidence that any protester at Columbia University or any of the nationwide pro-Palestine protests are a paid demonstrator or otherwise not an authentic protester.

The police response at Columbia comes after tensions have built for days, with the campus being the first of hundreds of similar protests nationwide against the Biden administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war. Protests have demanded a cease-fire in the conflict, the end of military aid to Israel, and for their colleges and universities to divest from Israeli interests.

Columbia is at the center of political attention for the protests. The campus has hosted visits from Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) and numerous members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in the last week.

Lawmakers from both parties have called on Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to resign if protests cannot be quickly quelled.

Both Trump and President Biden have denounced the protests, with Trump calling the demonstrations “a sad thing to see” on Tuesday, adding jabs at Biden.

“We have to go back to the roots, we have to protect, we have to stop the antisemitism that’s just pervading our country right now,” Trump said. “And Biden has to do something. Biden is supposed to be the voice of our country, and it’s certainly not much of a voice.”

More than a thousand students have been arrested nationwide at similar protests, some of which have featured violent clashes with police and counter-protesters.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top