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Dems attack Johnson over impassioned Columbia speech condemning anti-Israel student activists

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Top Democrats are pouncing on House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., after he gave an impassioned speech condemning the anti-Israel protests on Columbia University’s campus.

‘Why would I ever listen to a man that thinks he should have more say over my body than I do? NEXT,’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wrote on X under a photo of Johnson at Columbia.

She responded to a report about students heckling Johnson, ‘Good, he’s trying to take all their reproductive rights away.’

Johnson and several New York House Republicans – Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, Anthony D’Esposito, and Mike Lawler – visited with Jewish students on the Manhattan Ivy League campus on Thursday after days of demonstrations left them fearing for their own safety.

The speaker denounced the ‘mob’ of pro-ceasefire activists who set up an encampment on the Columbia campus as well as the faculty and staff aiding them. Those protesters loudly booed Johnson’s remarks on Thursday, to which at one point he shot back, ‘Enjoy your free speech.’

New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul accused Johnson of politicizing the demonstrations in comments to reporters in Albany, according to Politico.

‘A speaker worth the title should really be trying to heal people and not divide them, so I don’t think it adds to anything,’ Hochul said. ‘It seems to me there’s a lot more responsibilities and crises to be dealt with in Washington…I’d encourage the speaker to go back and perhaps take up the migrant bill, the bill to deal with closing the borders, so we can deal with the real crisis that New York has.’

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., whose daughter was arrested at the Columbia encampment earlier this week, went a step further and said Johnson was putting people’s lives in danger.

‘It is not surprising that he would go out to Columbia University and stir up really more anger and hate and endanger the lives of young people who are at the encampment at Columbia University,’ she told MSNBC.

The speaker’s office told Fox News Digital in response to the attacks, ‘Speaker Johnson spoke to students at Columbia University because Governor Hochul and other officials in New York have completely failed in their duty to protect Jewish students and combat the rise of antisemitism in their party. We wish it hadn’t been necessary.’

His appearance at Columbia came as officials on both sides of the aisle condemned the demonstrations, which have forced the university to partially move classes online. Similar protests have cropped up at colleges across the country, including at Yale University, where a Jewish student said they were hit in the eye with a flag pole during an anti-Israel event.

‘The college campus used to be the place for respectful debate, for the differences of opinion and the free marketplace of ideas to be discussed. That is not what is happening here,’ Johnson told the activists on Thursday.

‘You’re intimidating and shouting down people you disagree with. You cannot censor and silence viewpoints you disagree with. That is not American. You do not understand what it means to respect the First Amendment.’

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