Biden Urges Preservation of Order Amid Campus Protests

( – As protests on college campuses across the United States turned violent, President Joe Biden has chosen to remain mostly quiet.

Across the country, pro-Palestinian protests have been occurring since April 17 on college campuses, with students, faculty, staff, and others setting up encampments on the campuses to protest Israel’s war with Hamas and calling for the colleges to divest from companies that conduct business with Israel.

Biden’s first public comment came on April 22, when he condemned people that “don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians” and the “antisemitic protests” happening on college campuses. Biden’s condemning “both sides” caused many to compare his comments to those of former President Donald Trump, who, after the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, protests, said “both sides” had “very fine people.”

According to a May 1 comment from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden has been closely monitoring the situation, noting that some protests had become “not peaceful.”

While Biden remained quiet, Republicans spoke out, calling on Biden to intervene, placing blame on the Democrats for the chaos occurring on college campuses across the country. House Speaker and Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, who visited Columbia University on April 24 with other members of the Republican caucus, called on Biden “to speak to the issue and say this is wrong.”

Trump said, “Biden has to do something,” stating that while college campuses are being “terrorized” by “radical extremists and far-left agitators,” Biden is “nowhere to be found.”

However, after more than a week of clashes between protesters and police attempting to remove the encampments, Biden decided to break his silence on May 2. Biden attempted to remain neutral, calling for order while noting that “Dissent is essential for democracy.” He said while “there’s the right to protest,” there is “not the right to cause chaos,” adding that people should be able to walk across a college campus “safely without fear of being attacked.” He noted that he does not want the National Guard deployed to campuses.

On May 19, Biden is set to visit Morehouse University in Atlanta, where he will deliver the commencement address.

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