Princeton University is the latest Ivy League college to bow to the woke mob, something that royally irks “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Pete Hegseth.
Hegseth, a Princeton alumnus, railed against the school for entertaining a proposal to remove a statue of the college’s sixth president John Witherspoon. The Committee on Naming is currently reviewing the proposal which suggests replacing the statue with a plaque detailing “both the positive and negative aspects of Witherspoon’s legacy” and his relationship with slavery.
This, the Fox News co-host says, is “antithetical to history.”
“I don’t think most Princeton students know who Witherspoon is, that’s a shame, they probably should, but they probably don’t,’ Hegseth explained. “And the ones who want to get rid of it are motivated by chaos. Motivated by this subjective, left-wing, diversity, equity, inclusion, woke view of the world that everything of the past must be torn down unless they were perfect based on the judgment of today.”
Contrary to the opinions of the 300 students who signed the petition to remove the statue, Hegseth believes that Witherspoon was “an American hero.”
“John Witherspoon is an American hero. He was the only clergy to sign the Declaration of Independence, he was recruited from Europe, from Ireland to be the president of Princeton. He was a contemporary of James Madison,” he explained of the embattled figure’s history. “He was considered a brilliant mind, a lover of history, and one of the early ministers to run Princeton.”
Addressing the slavery aspect of the student concerns, Hegseth explained that despite the fact “he may have had two slaves” as nearly every rich white person did at the time, “Witherspoon was anti-slavery.” In fact, “he worked to free the slaves and hoped and believed that the founding generation would be one of the last to own them.”
He even privately tutored free black students because they were not officially allowed to enroll in the school. Witherspoon also recognized that despite his stance against slavery, it was likely not a good idea to abolish the practice immediately and rather supported a gradual end.
“The idea that his statue would be removed is completely antithetical to history, antithetical to what the university says it stands for,” he said. “It would be bending to a really noisy, tiny percentage of radicals who try to get their way on any college campus.”
Activists who support the removal argue that Witherspoon “didn’t stand out among people in power for a commitment to defending racist norms or power structures” during the time he was alive, though that doesn’t mean that he deserves such a high-profile symbol on the campus.
Despite his faults, Hegseth believes that students should still be learning about Witherspoon rather than clamoring to tear down his statue.
“This is an easy one if Princeton has an ounce of courage,” he said. “But they’re going to sit in these little listening sessions and they’re gonna listen to these little radical activist undergraduates complain about their horrible, privileged lives at Princeton.”
The school’s board of trustees will ultimately have the final word on whether the statue stays or goes, and Hegseth encouraged them not to give in to the whims of a few angry students.
“Places like Harvard and Yale and others, they’re all left-wing nonsense vacuums at this point. But Princeton has held out with the idea of free thought. Giving in to something like this signals that you are also retreating completely,” he concluded.
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