- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2019

President Trump should consider deploying the National Guard to ensure conservative activists are allowed to safely speak at public colleges, said right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza.

Mr. D’Souza, a former felon pardoned by Mr. Trump in 2018, made the suggestion during an appearance Thursday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” in light of the president recently pledging to sign an executive order requiring public colleges and universities to “support free speech if they want federal research dollars.”

“I think that Trump is — Trump’s step is an important first step, but it’s only the beginning,” Mr. D’Souza said.

Mr. D’Souza cited incidents at the University of California, Berkeley, in which “antifa,” or anti-fascist activists, participated in campus protests, seemingly referencing demonstrations that culminated in events featuring conservative speakers being canceled in 2017.

“I mean, as this stuff escalates, when you have antifa violence in places like Berkeley — let’s remember, Berkeley is a state university,” Mr. D’Souza told host Laura Ingraham. “It’s fully accountable to the First Amendment, and the First Amendment is not less valuable than, say, the 14th Amendment, which protects civil rights.

“So, if I were Trump, I would consider, in extreme circumstances, sending in the National Guard, because sending in force to protect basic constitutional rights is actually an appropriate use of force,” he said.

Protests at Berkeley throughout 2017 raised security concerns that resulted in the cancelation of “Free Speech Week,” a four-day festival that was expected to host appearances that fall by fellow conservatives including Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter, among others.

Recalling his own recent campus appearances, Mr. D’Souza said the past few events he attended were disrupted by demonstrators to some degree.

“The level of repression of speech on campus now — this is new,” he said. “I’ve been speaking on the campus for 25 years. We’ve had episodic cases like this but it has now become systematic.

“The last four events I did, Dartmouth College, Michigan State, American University, Stanford, disruptions at every single event of varying types, but all aimed at intimidating the conservative students at shutting down if possible the event,” Mr. D’Souza said.

Mr. D’Souza, 57, was convicted in 2014 of making illegal campaign contributions and sentenced to five years probation. He received a full pardon from Mr. Trump in May, and three months later he released a movie, “Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time,” that draws parallels between the president and Abraham Lincoln.

Deploying soldiers to deal with campus protesters has ended poorly in the past. Four people were fatally shot at Kent State University in 1970 after members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire at demonstrators protesting the recent invasion of Cambodia.

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