President Donald Trump spoke out against the campus left, praising a young conservative student who stood up to “radical mobs” trying to shut down a speech at a public university in New York this November.
At the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on Dec. 21, Trump referred to a protest that disrupted and ultimately shut down a Binghamton University (BU) lecture given by Arthur B. Laffer, a revered economist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“At Bighamton University, a few conservative students were promoting an event featuring the renowned economist Art Laffer,” Trump said. “They were surrounded by hundreds of radicals screaming at them in vile terms.”
“On the day the event occurred…a mob flooded the place wearing masks and red armbands and acted tough,” Trump continued. “They swing clubs, they swing bats, they swing everything.”
The president then invited Lacey Kestecher, a first-year student at BU, on stage to speak about the protest.
“We need to bring back freedom of speech on our campuses. We cannot let these radical leftists continue to suppress our speech,” said Kestecher, who stood “completely calm” in a confrontation against the protesters until they “went off unhinged.”
“Conservatives and patriots cannot and must not surrender our cherished institutions and culture to the radical, America-hating left,” Trump added. “Our nation badly needs more young people like those here tonight to study-up, work hard, and then go into government, go into journalism, go into media, go into teaching, and yes, go into academia and retake these institutions, rebuild our culture and take back our country.”
One of Ronald Reagan’s advisors, Arthur Laffer is best known for the “Laffer Curve,” an economic model that suggests taxation rates beyond a certain threshold do not help, but hurt government revenue and is frequently cited to promote tax cuts. His lecture at BU, titled “Trump, Tariffs, Trade Wars,” was canceled when protesters stormed the lecture hall that Laffer had to be escorted out of the venue for safety.
A video that captured the chaotic scene inside the lecture hall was posted to Twitter by New York’s Republican State Senator Fred Akshar. In the video, a male protester with a microphone can be heard declaring “we’re tired of being oppressed and we’re tired of getting murdered by this administration.” He moves on to call Laffer “a liar” for allegedly supporting incarceration, which the protester refers to as “the modern-day slavery of our time.”
Seconds later, the protester was handed a bullhorn equipped with a bright flashlight that appeared to shine forward in the direction the bullhorn was pointed. When people moved to the front of the lecture hall in what appeared to be an attempt to shield the guest speaker from the beam of light, the protesters erupted in mocking laughter.
As police began to intervene, the protesters quickly formed a human wall to protect their bullhorn-wielding peer, while chanting “free speech, free speech.” The police managed to pull one protester off the top of a desk and took him away.