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Press Release Published: May 1, 2024

Oversight Committee Republicans: DC Officials Must Take Action Against Pro-Hamas Camp and Restore the Rule of Law

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Eric Burlison (R-Mo.), and William Timmons (R-S.C.) today met with George Washington University leadership and toured the radical, antisemitic, and unlawful encampment on the university’s campus. Following the tour, members called on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to empower the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to clear out the unlawful encampment and restore the rule of law to protect students and staff.

Next week, the Oversight Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Oversight of D.C.’s Response to Unlawful Activity and Antisemitism,” to seek answers from Mayor Muriel Bowser and MPD Chief Pamela Smith on the city’s response these unlawful, antisemitic protests occurring at George Washington University and surrounding public lands.       

Chairman James Comer: “The Oversight Committee is here today because, as you saw yesterday from Speaker Johnson, this is a priority for the majority of the House of Representatives. We are seeing these protests spring up all across the United States. We are hearing from Jewish students they don’t feel safe. We are hearing from university administrators that they don’t feel like they are equipped to handle these types of protests.

“We have two roles on the Oversight Committee in these protests. First, we have legislative jurisdiction over the city of Washington, D.C. We’ve already passed legislation signed into law that rescinds D.C.’s soft-on-crime policies. We are going to have an emergency hearing Wednesday with the Mayor and Police Chief of Washington, D.C. We want to make sure MPD is working with campus police to ensure the safety of the students. Second, we want to follow the money trail to see if outside groups are paying for these activities.”

Representative Lauren Boebert: “This is what the students at GWU are facing each and every day. Their learning activities are being disrupted; their finals are being disrupted […] It’s very disrespectful. We have Jewish students who have approached me today who fear for the safety of their lives by the comments are being made. There are seven students who have been suspended for trespassing. It’s time that Mayor Bowser gets aggressive in keeping safety here on this campus and surrounding perimeter […] We stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East […] We stand for peace in Washington D.C., and the Mayor must step up and do something to clear this.”

Representative Anna Paulina Luna: “There are professional organized protesters that aren’t students who are currently inciting what you are seeing at this community right now. There’s a big difference between the First Amendment and peaceful protests and intentionally preventing people from being able to get an education and intentionally trespassing on property, going around with signs that say ‘final solution,’ of which you all know is racism. The fact is that here in the United States everyone has the right to ensure their constitutional freedoms are protected. What you are seeing happening in this country showing more division and there are people behind it who don’t want us to unify as a country.”

Representative Byron Donalds: “What is happening here is wrong. Mayor Bowser has let down the students of George Washington. She has let down the city of Washington, D.C. Everybody believes in peaceful protests, but this is trespassing now. GW has asked for help to have the encampment removed because this is private property, and the Mayor is weak in the face of foolishness and she won’t do her job of enforcing the law in Washington, D.C. We are calling on the Mayor to step up and support the president and administration at George Washington. All students deserve to be protected but you cannot take over a university for your own end. None of you would let it happen to your own house; you would call the police.”

Representative William Timmons:I graduated from George Washington in 2006 and I went to law school here in 2010. This is sickening to see thousands of Jewish students made to feel uncomfortable and made to feel fear. This is not what George Washington is about. And this is because the mayor is weak […] here in D.C. the mayor has chosen not to enforce the rule of law. The president of George Washington has requested MPD’s assistance in clearing these trespassers and they refuse to. This has gone on for a week and must be stopped.  We have a hearing next Wednesday and I can assure you that after it will be stopped. Trespassing is not allowed. The rule of law must be enforced.”

Representative Eric Burlison: “There are people being held prisoner today in Gaza by Hamas […] At the end of the day, this protest should be against what Hamas has done and we should be asking for the release of the prisoners in Gaza.”

Yesterday, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Pamela Smith raising concerns about MPD’s refusal to assist in clearing out an encampment of unlawful and antisemitic protestors on GWU’s campus.