Biden Condemns ‘Violent’ Student Protests but Refuses to Send National Guard

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(Headline USA) During his first public remarks regarding the anti-Israel student protests on college campuses across the country, President Joe Biden on Thursday called for order but said he would not send in the National Guard, CBS News reported

“We are not an authoritarian nation where we silence people or squash dissent,” Biden said at the White House.

“The American people are heard. In fact, peaceful protest is in the best tradition of how Americans respond to consequential issues,” he continued. “But neither are we a lawless country. We’re a civil society and order must prevail.”

When asked by a reporter whether he intended to send the National Guard to assist local law enforcement and campus police in removing the student encampments, Biden replied, “No.”

Biden instead hinted his support for local law enforcement taking action against student encampments.

“Violent protest is not protected. It’s against the law when violence occurs,” he said before rattling off a laundry list of other actions, some of which were legal and some illegal.

“Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism. Trespassing. Breaking windows. Shutting down campuses. Forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations. None of this is a peaceful protest,” he continued. “Threatening people. Intimidating people. Instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law.”

Several Republicans have called on the president to send in the National Guard to restore order on college campuses, arguing that the federal government had a responsibility to enforce civil rights laws being violated by student protesters.

“Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted last week, referring to former President Dwight Eisenhower’s decision to call in the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Ark., in 1957 to ensure the safety of nine African-American students enrolled at Central High School. “It’s time for Biden to call out the National Guard at our universities to protect Jewish Americans.”

However, the optics of doing so under the circumstances more likely would call to mind the May 1970 Kent State University protest in Ohio, during which guardsmen killed four students and wounded several others.

During the 2020 George Floyd riots, former President Donald Trump likewise was reluctant to send the Guard without the specific request of state and local officials, out of concern that such a move would be seen as overly militaristic and antithetical to the First Amendment.

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