A lecturer at California State University, Fresno has been placed on paid leave amid backlash for a February tweet that declared President Trump “must hang.”
“To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better,” American History lecturer Lars Maischak wrote Feb. 17, linking to an image comparing the president to brutal dictators like Hitler and Pol Pot.
Two days later, the faculty member tweeted: “#TheResistance Has anyone started soliciting money and design drafts for a monument honoring the Trump assassin, yet?”
Mr. Maischak has since deleted his Twitter account, but not before staunchly defending his position against a wave of criticism.
“To re-state the obvious: I do not intend to harm Mr. Trump, nor do I wish for anyone else to harm Mr. Trump by way of an assassination! … I am, however, convinced, given the nature of his regime, that he will be held accountable for his crimes in a court,” he explained. “[A]nd that historical precedent suggests that a death sentence is inevitable, if democracy prevails.”
Mr. Maischak finally apologized for the comments on April 11, telling The Associated Press that he is under federal investigation and has temporarily left Fresno because of death threats.
“I regret making these tweets,” he said. “I wrote them to an audience of 28 followers on Twitter under the assumption they would be read by people I know.”
The university has condemned Mr. Maischak’s comments and said he remains under review by the school.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro issued a statement Tuesday saying the school and Mr. Maischak had “agreed upon” a voluntary leave of absence for the remainder of the spring semester, effective immediately.
The university declined to say if Mr. Maischak would be back to teach in the fall.