Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) defended conservative pundit Ann Coulter’s right to speak at California’s Berkeley University after liberal threats of violence caused the school to cancel her scheduled appearance.
Sanders told the Huffington Post that Coulter should be allowed to express her views “without fear”:
“I don’t like this. I don’t like it,” Sanders told The Huffington Post after speaking at a rally for Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello on Thursday night. “Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous ― to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation.”
Resorting to violence and threats to silence Coulter is “a sign of intellectual weakness” – and it makes liberals look bad in the eyes of the world, Sanders said.
The best way to counter Coulter is to politely ask her “questions which expose the weakness of her arguments,” he said:
“What are you afraid of ― her ideas? Ask her the hard questions. Confront her intellectually. Booing people down, or intimidating people, or shutting down events, I don’t think that that works in any way.”
After backlash regarding Berkeley’s cancellation of Coulter’s speech, the school now says it’s trying to negotiate a conditional approval of Coulter’s speaking engagement.