House Speaker Mike Johnson
House Speaker Mike JohnsonReuters/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson called on Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to resign in light of her failure to combat antisemitic demonstrations on her campus and protect Jewish students.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt this morning (Wednesday), Johnson called the protests that have rocked the Columbia campus over the last week “unconscionable.”

“This President Shafik has shown to be a very weak, inept leader,” Johnson said. “They cannot even guarantee the safety of Jewish students? They’re expected to run for their lives and stay home from class? It’s just, it’s maddening. What we’re seeing on these college campuses across the country is disgusting and unacceptable.”

He added, “What we’re seeing on these college campuses across the country is disgusting and unacceptable. And we have to, every leader in this country, every political official, every citizen of good conscience, has to speak out and say that this is not who we are in America.”

Johnson suggested that universities that allow antisemitic riots on campus could lose federal funding.

The House Speaker is scheduled to meet with Jewish students at Columbia University today and eat with Rabbi Yuda Drizin, the Chabad rabbi on campus.

The latest protests at Columbia began a week ago, when anti-Israel protestors set up a tent city on the campus grounds. Over a hundred protesters were arrested by the following day, but the protest continued and grew more explicitly antisemitic.

Overnight Saturday, the Chabad rabbi of Columbia and a group of Jewish students were forced to leave the university campus for their own safety during a pro-Hamas demonstration.

Video posted to social media showed a female student asking why the anti-Israel protesters are following them, and another student can be heard saying that they needed to stick together for safety.

During Saturday night's demonstration, protesters attempted to break through the campus gate, chanting "Break da lock," "Someone torch it," Pick the lock," and "It's just a lock."

Demonstrators chanted "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" and "there is only one solution, Intifada revolution."

On Friday, videos were posted to social media showing protestors at Columbia University threatening that more massacres similar to the Hamas massacre of October 7 would be committed.

"Remember the 7th of October!" one protester yelled. "That will happen not one more time, not five more times, not 10 more times, not 100 more times, not 1000 more times, but 10,000 times!"

"Never forget the 7th of October," said another protestor. "Are you ready? 7th of October is about to be every day. Every day. 7th of October is going to be every day for you."

Protesters also held signs pointing at Jewish students, calling them "Al-Qassam's next targets" in reference to the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization.

A group of Jewish Columbia alumni wrote to university president Minouche Shafik that the ongoing anti-Israel protests on campus were creating an unsafe atmosphere for Jewish students and that violence against Jews was likely in the near-future.

“At present, new, unauthorized protests are disrupting classes and creating an irrefutably unsafe environment for Jewish students,” the alumni wrote, adding that “violence against Jewish students is imminent."

The letter called on Shafik to ensure that “all possible steps to protect Jewish safety.”

On Sunday, Rabbi Elie Buechler, an Orthodox rabbi on campus, wrote to students in Yavneh, Columbia's Orthodox Jewish organization, “What we are witnessing in and around campus is terrible and tragic. The events of the last few days, especially last night, have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy."

“It deeply pains me to say that I would strongly recommend you return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved,” he added.