White House national security spokesman John Kirby and press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shot down the idea of deporting foreigners who attend pro-Palestine or pro-Hamas protests, adding that the administration will protect the right to free speech, during a Monday press briefing.
“There’s been an uptick on the right among some Republicans who have called for students who are foreign nationals who are demonstrating in some of these pro-Palestine demonstrations or allegedly pro-Hamas demonstrations to have their student visas pulled or face deportation. What is the administration’s response to those kinds of remarks and that kind of rhetoric?” Real Clear Politics White House correspondent Phil Wegmann asked.
“I would just tell you that you don’t have to agree with every sentiment that is expressed in a free country like this to stand by the First Amendment and the idea of peaceful protest,” Kirby responded.
DeSantis weighs in on this exchange between RCP and White House.
Kirby told me, “I would just tell you, you don’t have to agree with every sentiment expressed in a free country like this to stand by the First Amendment and the idea of peaceful protest.”
DeSantis response: https://t.co/pqiQMkpbt4
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) October 23, 2023
Former President Donald Trump, along with several other Republicans, said he would punish foreign national students who are joining pro-Palestine protests adding that if he is elected back into the White House he will revoke the student visas of “radical, anti-American and antisemitic foreigners,” according to The Washington Post. Presidential hopefuls Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott have also voiced their support of deporting students who attend pro-Hamas protests. (RELATED: Left-Wing Muslims Abandon Biden For Being Too Pro-Israel)
Upon hearing Kirby’s response to Wegmann, DeSantis doubled down in a tweet saying that foreign national students who are “celebrating Hamas’ atrocities” should have their “visas canceled and be deported.”
“We are always going to denounce antisemitism but people have the right to peacefully protest,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “But we, in this administration, are always going to denounce antisemitism and any form of hate. Whether it is against the Jewish community, antisemitism, against the Muslim community, Arab American community, or the Palestin–. We are going to denounce any form of hate that comes towards those communities.”