Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter just received some overt support from an unlikely source: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In recent comments made during an interview with the Huffington Post, Sanders was critical of the apparent security threats that led the University of California, Berkeley to postpone an April 27 event featuring Coulter.
It’s a situation that the former 2016 presidential candidate said is quite unfortunate.
“I don’t like this. I don’t like it,” Sanders said. “Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous ― to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.”
And Sanders isn’t alone. Liberal comedian Bill Maher ranted against the troubling environment at Berkeley during his show “Real Time” on Friday, likening the consistent restriction of conservative speech on college campuses to “book burning.”
On 3/28, two student groups confirmed to Berkeley admins in writing that Ms. Coulter would be speaking on April 27 – https://t.co/712j9Oh7ex
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 22, 2017
“Berkeley used to be the cradle of free speech. And now it’s just the cradle for f**king babies!” he said, decrying the broader restrictions conservative speakers face at universities. “I feel like this is the liberals’ version of book burning, and it’s got to stop.”
The hoopla over Coulter’s visit kicked off after Berkeley College Republicans invited her for the April 27 event, but were told by officials that they would need to reschedule the address over fears her speech would incite violence and endanger security.
So, the school agreed to reschedule the event for May 2, but that isn’t going over too well, the Huffington Post reported.
“Ms. Coulter’s announcement that she intends to come to this campus on April 27 without regard for the fact that we don’t have a protectable venue available on that date is of grave concern,” Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said in a statement.
He continued, “Our police department has made it clear that they have very specific intelligence regarding threats that could pose a grave danger to the speaker, attendees and those who may wish to lawfully protest the event.”
"No school accepting public funds can ban free speech." https://t.co/QLKdd39no9
— CBN News (@CBNNews) April 24, 2017
Coulter and the College Republicans have remained defiant, threatening legal action and rejecting the May 2 reschedule date as one being held at a time when students won’t be able to attend; it’s during a period of time known as “dead week” when classes are over and students are studying for finals. Plus, Coulter said she isn’t available.
It is unclear what will happen next amid the ever-contentious free speech spat.
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