Calls Grow to Use National Guard to Protect Coulter, Free Speech at Berkeley
by JOEL B. POLLAK
21 Apr 2017
A growing number of conservative commentators are calling on President Donald Trump to use the California National Guard to escort author Ann Coulter onto the University of California, Berkeley campus when she speaks next week.
Though California Governor Jerry Brown commands the California National Guard, President Trump has the power to federalize it — just as President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard in 1957 to integrate public schools. (The same Arkansas troops who had once blocked black students then escorted the students to school.)
Coulter was invited by the Berkeley College Republicans to speak on April 27. When Berkeley administrators balked, citing security concerns, critics noted the ironic suppression of free speech on a campus that prides itself on that ideal.
The administration then reversed its decision — but said that Coulter could speak on May 2. There are no classes on that date, and so Coulter rejected the offer, declaring that she intends to exercise her constitutional rights, as planned.
The controversy is a test of whether the prestigious campus that gave birth to the Free Speech Movement in 1964 will yield to the “heckler’s veto” in the form of potential violence by the same radical anarchist and “anti-fascist” groups that rioted and shut down a speech by then-Breitbart News tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos on the campus in February.
On Wednesday, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin floated the idea of federalizing the California National Guard. “[President Trump] should send his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in there to walk Ann Coulter onto the Berkeley campus so she can give her speech… Either we have a Constitution, or we don’t!” Levin declared defiantly.