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Speaker Johnson on Columbia visit: So many 'rage'-filled students don't 'know what they're talking about'


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House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., appeared unrattled by throngs of anti-Israel protesters who attempted to shout down his speech during a visit to Columbia University's campus on Wednesday.

"We did our job today. We spoke out," Johnson told "Jesse Watters Primetime."

Johnson also thanked "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Jon Lovitz, who talked to host Jesse Watters immediately before his appearance, for speaking out against Jewish hate and the unrest gripping college campuses.

"I wish more people would" let their voice be heard, the House speaker said. "We have to call this madness out for what it is: It was chaos on that campus."

Johnson told Fox News he was convinced that many Columbia protesters in the crowd weren't cognizant of the issues in their apparent cause. He said many of the protesters don't understand the extent of Hamas' Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli civilians and that some even deny major terror attacks transpired in the United States in 2001.

ISRAELI COLUMBIA STUDENT REFUTES PROTESTERS' CLAIMS ABOUT JEWISH STATE: ‘HOW CAN YOU CALL ME A NAZI?'

"We were looking out to a sea of students' faces with rage. So many of them don't even know what the heck they're talking about. They don't know what Hamas has done. They deny the facts of Oct. 7. Some of them denied 9/11," he said.

Johnson was joined Wednesday by a slew of Republican lawmakers, including House Education Committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and New York Reps. Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island and Michael Lawler of Rockland County — the latter of whom represents a district home to nearly 100,000 Jewish Americans.

"Enjoy your free speech," the speaker responded to the hecklers on campus.

On Fox News, Johnson condemned those protesters who identified with Hamas and those who were purportedly chanting "death to America" on U.S. soil, as many in Iran do.

Host Jesse Watters noted then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke on Columbia's campus in 2007 at the invitation of then-president Lee Bollinger.

"Not a single person shouted them down, yelled, ‘You suck,' but you get treated worse than he did," Watters said.

IRANIAN-AMERICAN LAWYER PREDICTS PROTESTERS WANT NEW WORLD WAR

Johnson warned that order must be brought to campus or the unrest could escalate.

"This is not the expression of free speech. It's not the free exchange of ideas in the public square," he said. "This is threatening and intimidating Jewish students because of who they are, because of what they believe."

"We met with a big group of Jewish students before we went to the campus, and they're hiding in fear. They don't go to class. They're afraid they're going to be assaulted. It's not fair to them."

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One of the students who met with Johnson, Robbie Fox, spoke to Fox News earlier Wednesday and praised the speaker's solidarity with Jewish students being faced with increasing conflict.

"Speaker Johnson really tried to reaffirm the values that we have and that we share and that, you know, the Jewish students on campus that… Congress is with us," Fox said on "Your World."

He added that on the Democratic side, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also visited Columbia to speak to Jewish students and support them.

"Unfortunately, I think Jewish students would say we still haven't been feeling any change despite that pressure from elected officials on the university to combat antisemitism," he said. 

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