Speaker Johnson Visits Columbia University Amid Protests

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has courted criticism from within his own party recently, most notably with his advocacy for a bill approving tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to be sent to Ukraine.

This week, he visited the campus of Columbia University, which has become a hotbed of pro-Palestine demonstrations that have frequently morphed into expressions of outright hatred toward Israel and Jews in general.

“Today 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 asserted.
Citing his position as a legislative leader, Johnson vowed that “Congress will not be silent as Jewish students are expected to run for their lives and stay home from their classes hiding in fear.”

He went on to assert that it is “clear” why antisemitism has flourished on the campus of Columbia University and elsewhere across the U.S., adding: “Powerful people have refused to condemn it, and some have even peddled it themselves.”

As protesters attempted to drown him out with their pro-Palestinian chants, the speaker offered a terse aside.

“Enjoy your free speech,” he advised.

Johnson’s remarks also included a challenge to President Joe Biden to use the tools at the federal government’s disposal — namely the flow of funding — in an effort to stem the anti-Israel tide at American universities.

“The House has been investigating a number of these campuses,” he declared. “There is a nexus to federal funding. If these campuses cannot get control of this problem, they do not deserve taxpayer dollars.”

The ongoing protests have, at least to some extent, sparked bipartisan opprobrium, as expressed by Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

“I am horrified and disgusted with the antisemitism being spewed at and around the Columbia University campus,” he said. “I have instructed the NYPD to investigate any violation of law that is reported. Rest assured, the NYPD will not hesitate to arrest anyone who is found to be breaking the law.”