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Jean-Pierre: 'Admirable' for UNC students to hold up American flag during campus protest

The White House on Friday praised the actions of a group of University of North Carolina students who held up the American flag at a protest on campus over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked during a briefing whether President Biden would consider making a donation to the fraternity members who went viral for protecting the flag. Jean-Pierre skirted the question of a donation or a phone call to thank them, but she praised the group’s actions.

“All Americans have the right to peacefully protest. It is not right to forcefully take down the American flag, to replace it with another flag. It is not right. And so I just wanted to make that clear as well,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Protecting the American flag is admirable,” she added.

Pi Kappa Phi members were seen in a viral image holding up an American flag while activists threw items at them. The moment took place when pro-Palestinian supporters replaced the American flag with a Palestinian flag on campus Tuesday, causing skirmishes to break out with counterprotesters.  

The image resonated with many people online, causing John Noonan to start a GoFundMe for the fraternity members titled, “Pi Kappa Phi Men Defended Their Flag. Throw ‘em a Rager.” 

The original goal was $15,000, but the organizer has since raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the group. One of the highest donors is billionaire investor Bill Ackman, who donated $10,000 to the cause. Ackman previously supported Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) in his primary challenge against Biden.

President Biden on Thursday addressed the nation about ongoing protests on college campuses nationwide over the war in Gaza, saying that while there is a right to peacefully demonstrate, violence, vandalism and causing the cancelation of classes and graduation is not acceptable.

Source: The Hill

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