Northeastern University political economy professor Barry Bluestone found himself quickly eating his words after publicly wishing death on President Trump. During a lecture about the rule of law and inequality in the U.S., Bluestone told his students, “Sometimes I want to just see him impeached. Other times, quite honestly — I hope there are no FBI agents here — I wouldn’t mind seeing him dead."
The video was posted on YouTube Monday, causing controversy for the private Massachusetts-based university.
Northeastern quickly issued a statement to the Boston Globe condemning the video.
“The university and its leaders steadfastly oppose violence in all its forms,” the statement read. “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.”
"What I should have said is, ‘I would love to see him disappear, I’d like him out of the White House,’” Bluestone said in a phone interview with the Globe on Wednesday. He says he opposes assassination, as “that would be as bad as he is” and ”not how we change things in this country.”
However, as he made quite clear, that’s not what he said during the lecture.
Joking about wanting the commander in chief dead is no small offense. While Bluestone may not have any intention of assassinating Trump or encouraging it, his radical words and attitude convey to his students that this is an acceptable opinion.
Ironically, the lecture was called “The Rule of Law in a Time of Polarization,” and Bluestone admitted that his hateful comments may have “added” to this national polarization.
“I’m an advocate for civil discourse rather than outrage ... except for a half-second comment.” Bluestone told the Boston Herald. Unfortunately, his “half-second comment” revealed that he actually is more prone to outrage than he leads on — the same wild outrage that defines the Left’s resistance against Trump.
While it appears the university isn’t planning to take any further action against the embattled professor, Bluestone quickly learned his lesson. Even liberal institutions and audiences have a limit for the level of anti-Trump hate they will tolerate.
Brendan Pringle (@BrendanPringle) is a freelance journalist in California. He is a National Journalism Center graduate and formerly served as a development officer for Young America's Foundation at the Reagan Ranch.