Lars Maischak, the Fresno State history professor suspended earlier this year for his threatening tweet about Donald Trump, defended his actions in a Politico interview published on Sunday.
In early February, Maischak tweeted, “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better. #TheResistance #DeathToFascism.”
The tweet did not make national headlines, however, until conservative news outlets, including the Daily Caller, exposed it in early April.
In the Politico interview, Maischak defended himself, saying he “regrets nothing.”
“He told me that he regrets nothing, insisting that his comments were taken out of context by a right-wing media intent on creating a scandal,” the reporter wrote.
Although Maischak believes that Trump is a fascist, he contended that his tweets were not demands for Trump’s execution. Rather, he was simply pointing out the fact that fascists from the past, such as Mussolini and Tojo, have been executed by their political adversaries.
While the supposed evidence is thin, Maischak believes that conservative donors such as Michael Der Manouel, also a Fresno State alumnus and local talk radio contributor, pressured the school to suspend him.
The historian maintains that his suspension is an attack on academic freedom.
“It is my job to offend, not out of habit or attitude, but because I need to describe things as accurately as possible, especially when it comes to people in power,” Maischak said, apparently believing his assertion that Trump must be executed is “accurate.”
After news of his tweet broke, a petition circulated that called for Maischak’s removal. “While Maischak is certainly entitled to his opinion, he should not be in a position of power and authority over impressionable young minds while inciting violence against the president and those who support him,” the petition said.
The administration has currently moved Maischak to a non-teaching role this fall and his contract ends after the spring of 2018. Whether it will be renewed or not remains unknown for now. Maischak stated, however, that if it is not renewed, that he will consider suing the university.