Lee Calls Pro-Palestine Protesters 'Criminals,' Details Investigations

Lee Calls Pro-Palestine Protesters 'Criminals,' Details Investigations

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
May 1, 2024

The anti-Israel protests at Columbia University reached a fever pitch Tuesday as police cleared Hamilton Hall, which had been occupied by protesters. Concerns of radicalization and further violence have prompted Congress to investigate the protests and who is funding them, as the White House does little in response. Representative Laurel Lee (R-FL) discussed the investigations and blasted the Biden Administration's lack of strong words in a recent appearance on Fox Business's Mornings with Maria, further adding, "They are not protesters; they are criminals."

Rep. Lee further condemned the presidents of universities such as Columbia and other schools that have seen anti-Israel protests on their campuses, saying they "have an obligation to keep their campuses safe."

Additionally, she said President Biden "should be speaking out about this. He should be condemning antisemitism anywhere that it occurs in America, and certainly on these college campuses. And he has not even begun to do enough; he has been silent."

Host Maria Bartiromo asked Rep. Lee if Congress had uncovered potential coordinators of these protests and people participating in them. The Florida Congresswoman did not confirm any information but did say, "those types of questions are exactly why Speaker [Mike] Johnson (R-LA) and House Republicans want to initiate investigations, so we can ask these questions of our universities."

After all, Lee reiterated, "This is criminal conduct. This is not First Amendment expression. There is no right to engage in this kind of behavior, in this kind of violence and destruction on college campuses. So as Congress, we have a real opportunity to get to the bottom of who these people are, why they are here, and what their intentions are for our country."

Earlier this week, Representative Cory Mills (R-FL) similarly demanded a Congressional investigation into the antisemitic protests at Columbia and other universities and emphasized they did not fall under First Amendment rights.

"There is a fine line to walk with ensuring that everyone has the right to free, nonviolent protesting and being able to have their voice heard, and what you are seeing where there is intimidation, they are stopping Jewish students from being able to even attend their classes," said Rep. Mills.

Moreover, he added, "I think it is time for Congress to start investigating. Where is the money, and where is the actual non-influence operations being led from? What is the foreign entity that is potentially behind many of these? I think that is something that needs to be seriously taken in and looked at."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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