Trump says Palestine supporters at Universities are ‘paid… professional agitators' - Hindustan Times
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Trump says Palestine supporters at Universities are ‘paid… professional agitators'

May 01, 2024 03:24 PM IST

Donald Trump has denounced anti-Israel agitators at university protests as “paid” personnel. Biden also faced his wrath.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump pushed unsubstantiated claims about how Columbia University's ongoing protests found momentum with “paid” and “professional agitators," who've been “made by the same printer."

Former US President Donald Trump gestures as he walks back to the courtroom after a break in his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on April 30, 2024. Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over Donald Trump's hush money trial, fined the former president on Tuesday for defying a gag order and warned that further violations could result in jail time. (Photo by JUSTIN LANE / POOL / AFP)(AFP)
Former US President Donald Trump gestures as he walks back to the courtroom after a break in his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on April 30, 2024. Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over Donald Trump's hush money trial, fined the former president on Tuesday for defying a gag order and warned that further violations could result in jail time. (Photo by JUSTIN LANE / POOL / AFP)(AFP)

With the escalating nationwide campus upheaval at the centre of the conversation, student-led demonstrations have been joined by the community and faculty members alike. Hundreds of NYPD officers mobilised in full riot gear, resulting in massive student arrests and the clearing of university protest encampments Tuesday evening.

The 45th President of the US weighed in on the alarming scenario in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, claiming that most of these activists had no idea what they were standing up for and had been bought by the higher authorities.

Proclaiming the protesters present on the scene at Columbia University as “paid agitators, professional agitators,” Trump spoke of the supposed “identical” signs. “You know, when you see signs and they're all identical. That means they're being paid by a source,” the former President alleged.

Also read | University of Utah: Riot police clamps down on pro-Palestinian protesters; ‘disturbing’ footage emerges

Trump weighs in on pro-Palestine protests at Columbia University

While no corroborated proof has addressed the artificial presence of demonstrators at the various nationwide pro-Palestine protests, Trump has painted a new picture altogether.

“These are hand-painted signs where people would go to their basement and paint something because they really believed it," continued Trump. “These are all signs that are identical… made by the same printers,” the ex-president projected. He eventually tied his perception of the anti-Israel protests to the presumption that “somebody at the top” was paying these agitators at Columbia, synonymously equating it to a “great disservice to (the) country.”

Additionally, Trump even took the chance to hit back at Biden administration: “Biden has to do something. Biden is supposed to be the voice of our country, and it's certainly not much of a voice.”

Also read | Viral: Pro-Israel protester chants ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan at US university, here's what happened

All rising pro-Palestine demonstrations have erupted as a response to Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict. In addition to demanding a ceasefire and relinquishing the military occupation in the Gaza Strip, the protesters have also pushed universities to divest from connections with Israel, which are, in turn, aiding the violent decimation of the Gaza Strip.

Despite the blown-out nationwide activism, Columbia has become the hub of political rhetoric, with the campus being the pioneering centre of these protests. The defiant acts of activism have disfavourably threatened Columbia University President Minouche Shafik's position, with bipartisan lawmakers jointly denouncing the handling of the situation.

The growing number of arrests has extended past a thousand. Disturbing videos of scenes from the University of Utah also emerged on Monday as riot police were spotted dragging protesters, with reports of them possibly even firing rubber bullets at the student agitators.

 

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