On Wednesday morning, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro joined Fox and Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Elizabeth Hasselback to discuss the incendiary controversy stirred up by Shapiro’s impending speech at the University of California, Berkeley on Thursday. When asked by the hosts why he would want to go to a venue where there was so much hatred targeted at him, Shapiro replied bluntly, “To demonstrate that this is not going to be a fascist town run by people like Antifa.”
After the hosts began by noting hilariously that the university was offering counseling for its students and staff affected by Shapiro’s speech, and some in the media were describing the city of Berkeley “bracing” for Shapiro’s arrival, the exchange went like this:
Kilmeade: Ben, what is it about you that forces children to run for counseling?
Shapiro: First of all, just look at me; I’m just pure physical intimidation.
Doocy: You’re scary. You’re very, very scary.
Hasselback: It just shows, Ben, how much they need you there. These kids are going to counseling? I mean, grow up. Get some thick skin. You need to be there speaking and teach them a thing or two.
Shapiro: As I’ve said before, if you feel you need counseling for my speech you probably need psychiatric care in some way, so I guess that’s appropriate. What I talk about in these speeches is that I talk about the fact that violence in political settings is not appropriate, which you would think would be basic civics 101. I also talk about the idea that in America, you’re living in the freest country in the history of the world and there aren’t people out there trying to stop you, and so you should stop talking about how society is setting up institutional obstacles, and you should stop worrying so much about so-called “white privilege,” you should instead focus on what you can do as an individual to better your life. And if you see instances of racism and instances of sexism or homophobia or bigotry, all of us stand with you. You can name the instance, but you can’t actually just sit there and blame America for all of your problems.
Doocy: Sure. We understand you’re going to be talking about that radical leftist group Antifa, but ultimately don’t you think, it’s not that they don’t want to hear about Antifa, they just don’t want to hear from a conservative guy.
Shapiro: That’s exactly right. One of the things that’s been really shocking, and I think it’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing some of the folks on the Left, who are disconcerted by this, is that Antifa and the hard-Left are calling me a white supremacist. I’m an orthodox Jew who was literally the number one target of the so-called alt-right white supremacists in 2016, according to the Anti-Defamation League; they’re saying that I was some sort of part of the Trump fascist regime. First of all, Trump is not a fascist, but beyond that, the notion that I am a part of the Trump Administration is absurd; I actually didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary in the last election cycle. But it just shows you how far the Left is off-base when they decide that everybody who is to the right of Bernie Sanders must be a fascistic threat to the United States wearing a Nazi uniform.
Kilmeade, joking: Jill Stein was happy to get your support, Ben.
Shapiro, laughing: God forbid.
Kilmeade: Why would you even want to speak to this group? If they feel this way about you, why go?
Shapiro: I’m not speaking to the group that’s actually protesting me; I spoke at Berkeley last year and there was no problem whatsoever. One of the reasons that it’s imperative that conservatives go to Berkeley is to demonstrate that this is not going to be a fascist town run by people like Antifa. It’s a free country; Berkeley’s still part of the United States and the First Amendment still applies. By the way, there’s incredible demand for conservative speakers there. We were given a 2,000 seat theater before they sliced off the top half of the theater and said that nobody could come because they were afraid Antifa was going to come to literally rip bolted chairs off the floor and hurl them down onto the audience, so they took 1,000 seats away from us. But we sold out a 1,000 seat theater in 40 minutes. We easily could have filled a four or five-thousand seat theater there. So there’s clearly a demand for dissenting views in what is a pretty monolithic area.
Hasselback: One person tweeted out that you’re a category five hurricane; the LA Times said, their headline was Berkeley bracing for the right-wing talk-show Ben Shapiro’s visit, and then, this was in the campus newspaper, the Berkeley newspaper: it said, “We are deeply concerned about the impact some speakers may have on individuals’ sense of safety and belonging. No one should be made to feel threatened or harassed. Support services are being offered and encouraged.” You mentioned all the violence. I want to get your reaction about that and if you are expecting violence, why do you want to put yourself in the middle of that?
Shapiro: As I say, Berkeley’s expecting violence; the city council last night approved a resolution finally allowing police to use pepper spray against violent protesters, which shows you where Berkeley is, that they weren’t allowing police to do that before, but they set up a cordon, apparently, a hard cordon around the auditorium where I’m speaking; they shut down six buildings, including the student union; they said there’s going to be a very visible police presence.
Doocy: Holy cow.
Shapiro: It’s all insanity.
Doocy: Ben, what is your message for parents who are considering sending their children, their young adults, to a four-year college where you only get one political point of view for four years? What sort of person comes out at the other end of that?
Shapiro: If you’re not a conservative when you’re 18, then you will be a leftist by the time you’re 21 if you move into that machine. I’ve always said that it’s a good testing ground for conservative ideas; I think that people who are really disadvantaged by the leftism of universities are people on the middle and people on the Left because they never hear a dissenting point of view. But if you’re on the Right like I was, I went to UCLA and I was right-wing, and I went to Harvard Law, and I was right-wing, I always thought that it was a neat thing, actually; I got to test out my ideas and test them against the best the Left had to offer. The problem is that if you’re on the Left, you never hear anybody with a different point of view and so you come up with this notion that’s been imbibed wholesale by the Democratic Party that everybody on the Right, because you’ve never heard a right-wing argument, everybody on the Right must be a Nazi and Nazis are worth punching.
Kilmeade: Right, Unbelievable. Ben Shapiro, the Human Hurricane, the Tornado That Is, the Natural Disaster That May Be, thanks so much for joining us.
Shapiro: Thanks a lot.
Doocy: Stay safe.