Republicans Press Biden for Stronger Stance on College Protests Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

President Joe Biden is under pressure from Republicans to take a stronger stance on the college protests across the country related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The campus unrest has provided Republicans with a political opportunity to challenge Biden’s approach, with GOP senators calling for more decisive action from the administration.

“When will the president himself, not his mouthpieces, condemn these hate-filled protests?” asked GOP Sen. Tom Cotton during a news conference on Capitol Hill.

Biden last commented on the matter on April 22, condemning “antisemitic protests” and expressing concern about the situation with Palestinians.

The White House announced that Biden will deliver a major speech on antisemitism next week at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual Day of Remembrance Ceremony. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized that Biden is closely monitoring the situation and has a strong record of combating antisemitism.

Jean-Pierre pointed to Biden’s past statements denouncing antisemitism, including his reaction to the Charlottesville clash in 2017, which motivated his presidential run.

Asked about Biden’s response to recent developments, including protests at Columbia University and UCLA, Jean-Pierre emphasized the importance of peaceful protests within the law.

“Forcibly taking over a building is not peaceful. Students have the right to feel safe and learn without disruption,” Jean-Pierre said.

Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans are increasing pressure on university leaders over the protests. House Republicans announced an investigation into how universities are handling the demonstrations, with hearings scheduled for May 23.

Senate Republicans held their own press conference, describing the protests as “chaotic” and calling for action from the federal government.

The college protests, initially peaceful, intensified recently following arrests and clashes at some schools. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are urging divestment from Israeli military funding, while Jewish students have raised concerns about antisemitism.

Republican senators proposed various responses, including revoking visas for overseas student protesters and investigating schools that fail to protect students.

“We’re serious about this. We’re going to take a look at legislative options to address this problem,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Some Republicans criticized Biden’s response, suggesting political motives.

“Why is this president turning his head from the violence?” asked Sen. Roger Marshall. “He is totally politically driven rather than doing the right thing.”