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NYPD officers in riot gear break into a building at Columbia University, where pro-Palestinian students are barricaded inside a building and have set up an encampment, in New York City on April 30, 2024. New York police entered Columbia University’s campus late April 30, 2024 and were in front of a building barricaded by pro-Palestinian student protesters, an AFP reporter saw. Dozens of people were around Hamilton Hall, on the Columbia campus in the middle of New York City, as police arrived and began pushing protesters outside, the reporter said. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Trump on Wednesday praised New York law enforcement for forcibly clearing demonstrators from a Columbia University building amid intense protests over the war in Gaza.

The former president praised police for entering Hamilton Hall and arresting dozens of people late Tuesday, and he blasted college leaders and President Biden for their handling of the protests.

“New York was under siege last night,” Trump said of the Columbia protests during a rally in Waukesha, Wis.

He then criticized Columbia University President Minouche Shafik.

“The person that heads it up, a woman, she waited so long. She was so weak, she was so afraid, she was so bad. They could have done this with the tents and it would have gone quickly and no problem,” Trump said.

“But they did an incredible job,” he said of law enforcement. “They went into one of the big buildings, a beautiful landmark building. Boy, it got the hell beat out of it last night. You know you’re supposed to take care of those buildings. It took a beating. But the police came in and in exactly two hours everything was over. It was a beautiful thing to watch. New York’s finest.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters opposing Israel’s military campaign in Gaza had seized control of Hamilton Hall on Monday, an escalation of campus protests that began roughly two weeks ago. New York police officers entered the building late Tuesday through a window, carrying riot shields and zip ties and arresting several protesters as they cleared the area.

A statement from a university spokesperson said officers arrived after the school had requested help.

The Columbia University protests have garnered national attention. But similar demonstrations have been playing out across college campuses nationwide amid outrage over the war in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have been killed as Israel responds to Hamas’s October terrorist attacks that left roughly 1,000 Israelis dead.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president who has called the protests a “disgrace,” slammed Biden on Wednesday for his lack of public comment on the scenes playing out across the country.

“Biden’s nowhere to be found. He hasn’t said anything,” Trump said. “When you have a problem like that you should go out and talk about it and talk to the people. But there’s a big problem, there’s a big fever in our country, and he’s not talking. But if he did, it wouldn’t matter.”

“To every college president, I say remove the encampments immediately, vanquish the radicals and take back our campuses for all of the normal students who want a safe place from which to learn,” Trump added.

Biden, in some of his only public comments on the protests, told reporters last week that he condemned antisemitism, as well as those who do not understand what is happening with Palestinians in Gaza.

Biden has tried to walk a careful line throughout the conflict, defending Israel’s right to respond to Hamas and repeatedly condemning antisemitism in the wake of the attack. At the same time, he has also called for Israel to allow more aid into Gaza and urged the country to do more to protect civilians.


Donald Trump

Joe Biden

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