At a public event on “The Rule of Law in a Time of Polarization,” a Northeastern University professor told the audience that he “wouldn’t mind” seeing President Trump “dead.”
The event was part of Northeastern’s 2018 Myra Kraft Open Classroom series, which explores “the definition of the Rule of Law, what it requires, what happens in its absence, and how it has declined and emerged globally,” as well as how it functions in times of “polarization and technological upheaval.”
The event description notes that the term “Rule of Law” can have different meanings to different people, but asserts that “at its core it involves all members of a political community being subject to the same (well defined) laws and standards and an independent judiciary.”
Barry Bluestone, a professor of political economy at Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs who served as the school’s founding dean from 2006 to 2012, participated in the January 31 installment of the series, which focused on “Challenges Posed by Economic Inequality & Stagnation” and also featured progressive journalist Robert Kuttner.
On Monday, Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs posted a video of the two-hour event to its YouTube page, near the end of which Bluestone shared his fantasy of seeing Donald Trump leave the presidency, either through impeachment or death.
“This president that we have is really out of control…sometimes I want to just see him impeached,” Bluestone remarked. “Other times, quite honestly—I hope there are no FBI agents here—I wouldn’t mind seeing him dead. But, actually I don’t wa…”
Kuttner, seated to his left, quickly interjected, supplying the qualifier, “…of natural causes.”
“Of natural causes,” Bluestone affirmed with a nod to his colleague. “Thank you. Thank you.”
Bluestone pointed to the camera and then to Kuttner saying “FBI,” as if to suggest that any FBI agents listening should heed Kuttner’s hasty correction.
In a statement to Campus Reform, Bluestone elaborated on his remarks, saying that while he wants people to “rise up and oppose” Trump, he was not advocating acts of violence.
“In my opinion, Trump is the most dangerous man on the planet because of his power of using lies and half-truths to galvanize his supporters and his ability to command vast military resources,” he explained. “Would I kill him? No. And I normally abhor violence in all forms.”
At another point during the event, Bluestone referred to Trump as a “plutocratic fascist,” a characterization he told Campus Reform he is standing behind.
“He is risking millions of lives by his wreckless global policies, he and his staff have referred to Muslims and Mexicans in terms not unlike Adolf Hitler’s references to Jews, and he now is taking on the militaristic approach of Stalin and Hitler in wanting to have a massive Military Parade showing off our soldiers and weaponry,” Bluestone contended.
“I refer to him as a Plutocrat because he is doing everything to shore up his own wealth and that of his rich friends,” the professor added. “I refer to him as a fascist because of his autocratic behavior with little concern for social justice or democratic process.”
UPDATE: Renata Nyul, VP of communications for Northeastern, has provided Campus Reform with a statement disavowing Bluestone’s remarks, noting that the school has removed the video from its website.
“Professor Bluestone’s comments do not reflect the views of Northeastern University. The university and its leaders steadfastly oppose violence in all its forms,” the statement asserted. “While faculty members are free to express controversial opinions, the university cannot provide a public platform for comments that could be construed to condone violence. As a result, we have decided to take down the video of this event.”
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First published at Campus Reform
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