Sen. Kaine Says Calling In The National Guard For College Campus Protests Would Be A 'Bad Idea'

Over the weekend, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said that calling in the National Guard to contain students on college campuses protesting the war in Gaza would be a “very, very bad idea” — and referenced the 1970 Kent State University massacre in Kent, Ohio, as an example.

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, host Kristen Welker asked Kaine if he supported the idea of the National Guard responding to the protests.

While visiting Columbia University last week, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) suggested that the National Guard may need to intervene if the protests at the school continued.

“Calling in the National Guard to college campuses for so many people would recall what happened when that was done during the Vietnam War, and it didn’t end well,” Kaine said. “The National Guard going to college campuses, Kent State and elsewhere, did not end well, and I think that would be a very, very bad idea. I think there are other ways — using campus security — but also, again, offering students more opportunities to have dialogue that is civil and constructive where people hear one another. That’s by far preferable.”

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard killed four unarmed Kent State students and injured nine others who were protesting the Vietnam War and the invasion of Cambodia.

Laurel Krause, the sister of Allison Krause, one of the four students killed during the massacre, warned against a militarized response to peaceful demonstrations on college campuses protesting the war in Gaza, calling for a cease-fire and demanding universities divest from Israel.

“As the family member of a peaceful student protester killed by the state, I am aghast at the way that Columbia University President Minouche Shafik, along with administrators at other U.S. institutions of higher education, have endangered the lives and well-being of student protesters by inviting militarized police onto campuses to disperse protesters,” Krause said in a statement Wednesday.

Shafik recently authorized New York police to sweep college students’ encampments, resulting in the arrests of more than 100 protesters. Earlier this week, police officers arrested protesters at other universities across the nation, including the University of Southern California and the University of Texas at Austin.

With the help of U.S.-funded weaponry, Israeli forces have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza since October, following Hamas’ deadly attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.