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Colombia professor brands student 'neo-Nazi murderer lover' for supporting Trump: 'Why don't you drop dead?'

The pair got into an argument on Facebook over the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic and things escalated quite quickly
UPDATED MAY 18, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A Columbia University political science professor called a Republican student a "neo-Nazi enabler" and asked him to "drop dead" over an argument about Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Gabriel Montalvo, 21, shared the screenshots of his April 6 argument with Columbia Professor and Deputy Chair Jeffrey Lax on Facebook and called for the university to take action against him for his comments.

The argument reportedly began after Montalvo commented on a political cartoon that one of his high school teachers posted on Facebook and defended the president. The cartoon, by artist Michael de Adder, depicted Trump showing off his phone in the middle of a group of healthcare workers and boasting, "Look, everybody, I'm number one on Facebook."

Montalvo, a CUNY Queensborough Community College student and New York State Vice Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, wrote in response, "People choose what they want to see and everyone has an opinion. Doesn't help that it's constant bash POTUS with a side of Italian hospital footage."

He was referring to an incident where CBS admitted to "mistakenly" using footage from an Italian hospital on a report about New York City hospitals overflowing with patients suffering from COVID-19. It was here that Lax got into the argument. "Bash the president murdering his own people through lies and actively horrible choices?" he asked. "This cartoon is horribly inaccurate though!!! He's actually confiscating the equipment they need for the surgery after states had to bid to get it in the first place etc."

"How stupid or racist or evil do you have to be to defend POTUS at this point..." he added.

Montalvo hit back and highlighted the hypocrisy of Democratic lawmakers during the crisis. "I didn't know he was murdering his own people, like you claim," he wrote. "I was reminding myself about the time the NYC Health Commissioner and Nancy Pelosi to go outside to enjoy the Lunar New Year festival. Or about the time the president made a State of the Union address which made the mention of the measures being taken, but were ultimately ripped by the opposition. And to when the President donated his salary to research."

It was here that Lax seemingly lost his cool and went on a tirade where he called Montalvo a "neo-Nazi enabler" and suggested that he drop dead.

"Woah - are you claiming Trump didn't lie and cover up? You're claiming Pelosi ended some policies of Trump as opposed to ripping up his racist bulls*** speech? And you don't know how he's cashing in on the presidency? Why don't you just drop dead, you neo-Nazi enabler. I'm not going to debate someone obviously lying about what is happening - I'm just shocked anyone decent would admit knowing someone as evil as to defend Trump's inaction and actions since..."

The 21-year-old wasn't too pleased with the branding and said Lax was resorting to "playground insults" by asking him to die instead of having a discussion with him. He also said he could "only hope that the students who take your course get a refund."

"I'm too educated to think you are honest," Lax responded. "I know someone defending the indefensible. Neo-nazi murderer lover. That's all you are."

Montalvo tweeted out the entire argument and wrote, "Libel or stupidity? @Columbia is this behavior reflective of the college’s views? A Deputy Chair at your university is telling a supporter of @realDonaldTrump to go die over a difference of opinion? He then has the gall to call a U.S. Soldier a Nazi!?"

"Does this violate your guidelines? I can only hope the #1A is upheld in the classroom. Professors and higher education establishments should be examples of the exchange of civil discussion, not cyber harassment & perverting a historic tragedy to push an agenda."

He told Campus Reform he lodged a formal complaint with Columbia via email on May 12 and had waited for a month to file it due to "the various difficulties that the pandemic has placed" on him.