EXCLUSIVE — Fox News contributor Mike Pompeo was interrupted by protesters during a speech at Yale University on Thursday, but the former secretary of state is happy the hecklers were able to exercise their constitutional rights.
“I’m glad the young people could exercise their First Amendment rights,” Pompeo told Fox News Digital. “This could only happen in the United States.”
Pompeo, who was at the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program event to promote intellectual diversity on Yale’s campus, said the protesters did an “enormous disservice to colleagues and peers” by shouting instead of engaging in informed debate.
“It’s too bad that they didn’t come and listen and make an argument instead of noise,” Pompeo said. “They just wanted to scream… that’s not the finest traditions of our country.”
Mike Pompeo was interrupted by protesters during a speech at Yale University on Thursday.
(Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Pompeo said the three protesters, who claimed they were part of the far-left LaRouche movement, seemed “confused and deeply angry.”
One heckler shouted claims that Pompeo was the “deep state,” “destroying this country” and the “swamp monster,” while another called him the “embodiment of evil” who should “apologize” for the 2020 U.S. military attack that killed Iranian terror leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force. The attack, which occurred when Pompeo was secretary of state in the Trump administration, came after Soleimani orchestrated operations killing American troops.
“We saved countless lives by striking Qassem Soleimani,” Pompeo responded to the protester.
A protester screamed at former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the 2020 U.S. military attack that killed Iranian terror leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center.
Pompeo praised the university and the Buckley Program for making it possible for his speech to continue after the protesters were removed from the building.
Buckley Program founder and executive director Lauren Noble believes the attempt to silence Pompeo is proof that intellectual diversity is critical.
Fox News contributor Mike Pompeo spoke at a William F. Buckley, Jr. Program event to promote intellectual diversity on Yale’s campus on Thursday.
“The disruption of Secretary Pompeo’s speech highlights that free speech is in danger across America,” Noble told Fox News Digital.
“This is the latest reminder that more needs to be done to ensure that college campuses are spaces for open debate and discussion,” he continued. “We owe a special debt of gratitude to Yale police who escorted the protesters out of the event, and to the overwhelming show of support from the audience, who booed and mocked the protesters, and applauded Secretary Pompeo’s even-handed response.”
The Yale Daily News reported that the three individuals were not affiliated with the university. The paper also reported they were warned before being escorted out “as per the University’s policies on freedom of expression.”