Apr 30, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Schumer slams pro-Palestinian protesters who took over Columbia building

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks after the Senate passed a foreign aid bill at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks after the Senate passed a foreign aid bill at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed the move by pro-Palestinian protesters to take over a building at Columbia University as "lawlessness."

Why it matters: Schumer, the highest-ranking elected Jewish official in Congress, has levied harsh criticism on the Israeli government for the war in Gaza and is one of the most influential Democratic voices on the issue.

  • But Schumer said the protesters at Columbia should "promptly face the consequences that are not merely a slap on the wrist."

The Schumer speech from the Senate floor comes as pro-Palestinian protests intensify on campuses around the country. Arrests were made at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Florida on Monday.

  • "Campuses cannot be places of learning, and argument and discussion when protests veer into criminality," Schumer said.

It is a forceful rebuke from the top Senate Democrat that comes when Democrats are fractured on the issue. Some progressives, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have shown support for the protesters.

  • And Republicans are planning to punish Democratic candidates politically for their fractured front on the Israel-Hamas war.
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