Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got into a heated exchange with a heckler during a panel discussion on Monday at the Institute of Global Politics at Columbia University in Manhattan.
The exchange, which was caught on video and quickly went viral on social media, occurred when the heckler demanded that Clinton denounce President Biden's recent speech calling for a $105 billion security aid package for Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine.
"You sit down, and we’re going to let other people talk," Clinton responded as the heckler continued to interrupt her. "Can you please make a statement about President Joe Biden’s speech? This is a clearly warmongering speech," the heckler countered.
Clinton attempted to move on to other topics, but the heckler persisted, accusing Biden and Clinton of not speaking for the American people and inciting war. The former secretary of state calmly responded that this was "not the way to have a conversation" and offered to speak with the heckler after the event.
But the heckler, who identified himself as a pro-Palestinian activist, continued to demand that Clinton denounce Biden's speech. "The fact of the matter is, the American people’s voice is what needs to be heard because our president is not speaking for the American people, and neither are you," he shouted.
Clinton called out the heckler for interrupting and disrupting the event, stating that it was not free speech when it was infringing on others' right to speak. The tense exchange continued for several minutes, with the heckler accusing Clinton of hypocrisy and referencing previous American historical figures.
🚨Hillary Clinton SNAPS after INTERRUPTED mid speech over refusing to call out Joe Biden for getting us into WWIII
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 24, 2023
Despite Clinton's attempts to move on and address other panelists, the heckler persisted in demanding that she denounce Biden's speech. "I want to hear Hillary Rodham Clinton denounce President Joe Biden's warmongering speech!" he shouted, to which Clinton firmly responded, "I've given you an answer, I will not do that, so that's the end of our conversation."
The heckler continued to disrupt the event, and eventually, a member of the audience approached him and told him to sit down. Clinton attempted to continue the discussion with other panelists, but the heckler again interrupted, shouting, "He's trying to push us to World War Three!"
The exchange ended with Clinton telling the heckler that she would still meet him outside after the event, but his behavior was unacceptable and he was "done."
The video of the exchange quickly gained attention on social media, with many praising Clinton for her composure and handling of the situation. Some also criticized the heckler for his disruptive behavior and accused him of cherry-picking historical facts.
The event continued without further interruption, but the exchange between Clinton and the heckler raised important questions about the right to free speech and the responsibility to allow others to express their opinions without interruption.