ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Mark Kelly discusses pro-Palestine protests; Kari Lake’s ‘strap on a Glock’ statement

May 5, 2024, 11:10 AM | Updated: 11:24 am

Senator Mark Kelly on stage...

Sen. Mark Kelly joined NBC's Kristen Welker for a “Meet the Press” segment, where made his stances clear on political issues in Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The political climate is heating up in Arizona with elections just around the corner, and Sen. Mark Kelly made his stances clear on an assortment of different issues.

Kelly joined NBC’s Kristen Welker for a “Meet the Press” segment that was released on Sunday morning. The two discussed pressing political topics in Arizona, including pro-Palestine protests, the recent abortion repeal and the southern border crisis.

Pro-Palestine protests

Protests at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona have resulted in violence, police involvement and several arrests.

“Some of these protests have become very violent,” Kelly told Welker. “Everybody has the right to protest — peacefully. When it turns into unlawful acts. … It’s appropriate for the police to step in.”

While demonstrations in Arizona and other college campuses across the country have escalated, Kelly does not think that it will get to a point of calling upon the National Guard.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen, and I hope it doesn’t. I want kids on college campuses to be safe,” Kelly said in the interview. “I want Jewish students to be able to go to class to get their education. I don’t want to see protestors destroying property on campus or doing other unlawful things.”

Kelly emphasized his concern for rising anti-Semitism, and noted that legislation is in the works to combat the issue.

The Arizona senator also gave some insight on his decision to support a $15 billion military aid package for Israel that Congress passed last week.

“October 7th was unprecedented for the country of Israel. I mean, they have not been attacked like that from a terrorist group,” Kelly said. “It was brutal. It was barbaric and Israel has every right to respond in a appropriate way, and they’ve been trying to deal with this terrorist organization that literally is embedded in tunnels.”

However, Kelly said that Israel needs to do a better job at protecting Palestinian civilian lives.

“I’ve talked to the Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog about this specifically that if we don’t see some changes, I think it is appropriate to put conditions on some of this aid,” Kelly clarified.

Abortion rights in Arizona

On Thursday, Gov. Katie Hobbs signed to repeal the state’s 1864 abortion ban. While this news is a big step for women’s rights activists in Arizona, Kelly feels that it’s only the beginning for the country.

“We have an opportunity in November,” Kelly said, alluding to the choice between Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. “What we really need is national legislation to codify a women’s right to make these decisions.”

Kelly also said that he would be in support of getting rid of the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade into law.

Southern border crisis

Kelly admitted that coming to agreements on solutions regarding the southern border crisis have been challenging.

“It’s the most frustrating thing I have dealt with while I’ve been in office probably in my entire adult life,” he said.

He talked about how the bipartisan border security bill failed because of “one individual” — former President Donald Trump.

“Democrats and Republicans and the administration worked together, including the Secretary of Homeland Security, on something that was going to provide more border patrol agents, more (Customs and Border Protection) officers and more machines to detect Fentanyl,” Kelly recounted.

Today, Kelly says that he would support an executive action from President Biden that addressed the border.

Republican Senate hopeful Kari Lake’s “strap on a Glock” statement

In a campaign speech made to a crowd in Mohave County in April, Kari Lake said “We are going to put on the armor of God. Then maybe strap on a Glock on the side of us, just in case.”

“What Kari Lake said could result in people getting hurt or killed,” Kelly said. “When you’re a candidate for the United States Senate, you need to be careful with your words. We’ve seen this throughout history.”

Kelly emphasized the importance of promoting peace, especially as political tensions rise leading up to the election.

“We need people in elected office that want to take this country in a better direction — where we accept the outcome of elections, where we don’t use language to try to incite our supporters — we don’t need folks in the United States Senate who are comfortable using language like that,” Kelly said.

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Sen. Mark Kelly discusses pro-Palestine protests; Kari Lake’s ‘strap on a Glock’ statement