Calls Made To Deploy National Guard at Campus Protests by GOP

( – Pro-Palestine/anti-Israel college groups recently started staging nationwide protests at colleges and universities in response to the deadly conflict between Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas in Gaza. At first, the demonstrations were peaceful gatherings, but by April 24, Fox News was reporting on an uptake in clashes between students and law enforcement officials. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) recently called on the White House to deploy the National Guard to those protests.

On April 24, Johnson visited Columbia University in New York City, the site of the first pro-Palestine student protest. He also spoke to reporters about the increasing violence at that demonstration and described the protesters as “lawless agitators.”

Johnson said he thought Columbia University’s willingness to allow “radicals to take over” the campus was “detestable.” He also warned that calling in the National Guard would be appropriate if local and state law officials and college administrators couldn’t contain the protests and quell the students’ “threats and intimidation.”

POLITICO and other news organizations reported that Johnson said he would call President Joe Biden and demand that he send National Guard troops to Columbia University. It remained unclear whether the speaker had yet contacted the president about that request. So far, Biden hasn’t responded to the news reports covering Johnson’s response to the student protests.

However, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to a reporter’s question about the situation during her April 25 press gaggle. The journalist asked if Johnson had spoken with Biden about the possibility of deploying the National Guard and whether the president thought it necessary to deploy troops.

Jean-Pierre responded by noting that the country’s various National Guard units are state-level military units that generally operate under the control of their respective governors. “That is something under the governors [authority], right?” she responded, adding that the decision to dispatch troops to Columbia and other schools was “something for the governors to decide.”

The press secretary reminded reporters that New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul recently visited Columbia University’s campus. She suggested that news outlets refer to Hochul’s comments about the situation.

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