About 40 students and community members protested an event featuring President Donald Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations outside Lisner Auditorium Thursday.
GW Students Against Imperialism organized a protest dubbed “With All Disrespect” against Nikki Haley’s event, at which she discussed her new memoir “With All Due Respect.” Protesters characterized Haley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, as an anti-labor politician and war criminal and profiteer as a result of her anti-union activism on behalf of Boeing as governor and her current position on the board of airplane manufacturer Boeing.
Protesters held signs reading “Nikki Haley Loves War” and waved Palestinian flags as they chanted “Send Haley to the Hague” and “Nikki with all disrespect, your war crimes won’t go left unchecked.”
Demonstrators gathered in Kogan Plaza at 6:30 p.m. ahead of Haley’s talk at 7 p.m. Members of student organizations like the Young Democratic Socialists of America GW, the Progressive Student Union and Jewish Voice for Peace at GW spoke at the protest.
Sophomore Hajira Asghar, a member of Students Against Imperialism, said Haley is a “warmonger” who furthered the United States’ interests at the expense of others. She added that Haley supports sanctions and war in Iran because of her current position on Boeing’s board, from which Asghar said Haley would “directly” profit off of any war.
“Nikki Haley supports war, she supports war in any country she can push it towards,” Asghar said. “And right now, that’s Iran.”
Senior Matthew Zimmer, a member of the environmental organization Sunrise Movement, said the movement’s members decided to attend the protest because they opposed Haley’s support for a war with Iran. Haley has warned that Iran could be the “next North Korea” and supports U.S. sanctions targeting Iran.
“U.S. imperialism is inherently linked to climate change in that the U.S. military is the single largest polluter in the world,” Zimmer said. “And on top of that, the wars that we fight are often for the extraction of resources that even furthers the destruction of our environment and our planet.”
Senior Rebecca Lewis, an international affairs major, spoke as a student leader for Jewish Voice for Peace. She said that Haley’s actions condoning Israel’s treatment of Palestinian protesters have negative implications for a broad range of social issues.
“When I think of repairing the world, I don’t think about inviting war criminals directly profiting off of the suffering of Palestinians by working for Boeing,” Lewis said. “That’s why we at JVP are here standing in solidarity with Students Against Imperialism, YDSA and the Sunrise Movement, because this is an intersectional issue and it goes directly against my values as a Jewish student on campus.”