Lucian Wintrich, a credentialed White House correspondent for Gateway Pundit, a right-wing website, was arrested Tuesday night after a scuffle broke out as he was trying to deliver a speech titled “It’s OK to be White” at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
The speech, sponsored by the campus College Republicans and attended by about 350 people, had been largely drowned out by protesters shouting “Go home, Nazis,” “Black lives matter” and “F‑‑‑ you,” according to the Daily Campus, the student newspaper.
Video of the incident showed several young people approaching the lectern behind which Wintrich was standing. According to the Hartford Courant, which covered the event, they began “yelling at Wintrich.” A woman then took from the lectern a sheaf of papers, apparently the text of Wintrich’s speech, and walked away with them. Wintrich pursued her and grabbed her in an apparent effort to retrieve the papers.
At that point, others intervened and appeared to be trying to pull him off the woman, the video showed, and a brief melee broke out. Police took Wintrich out of the room, the Courant reported.
A UConn spokeswoman, Stephanie Reitz, told the Courant that Wintrich was charged with breach of peace and released on $1,000 bail. As he was being driven away in a police car, students ran after it, the paper said.
A UConn student was later charged with breach of peace and criminal mischief after a window was broken in the building.
The speech had been controversial since it was scheduled. Gateway Pundit has been described by The Washington Post’s Philip Bump as a “conspiracy-enthusiastic site” that, among other things, bought into “birther” stories about former president Barack Obama. As the New York Times reported, it attracted attention during the 2016 campaign for “its fervent pro-Trump coverage and its penchant for promoting false rumors about voter fraud and Hillary Clinton’s health that rocketed around right-wing websites.”
The Trump administration granted White House press credentials to Wintrich, who describes himself as an artist and writer on his website.
In his speech, according to the Courant, Wintrich accused liberals of “wanting black people to dress like they did in Africa 300 years ago.” He showed a photo of women in burqas, saying liberals also “want Muslims to dress the way they’ve always dressed. The left wants them to seem like visual advertisers for their multicultural utopia they’re claiming to promote.”
“The crowd became more boisterous and hostile at those words,” said the Courant, describing the events that led to the altercation.
“I was charged with ‘breach of peace’ for taking back a speech that I wrote about how disingenuine the MSM is,” Wintrich tweeted after his arrest Tuesday, in reference to what conservatives call the mainstream media.
“It is really unfortunate that some of the kids” at UConn “felt the need to be violent and disruptive during a speech that focused on how the leftist media is turning Americans against each other,” he added. “Tonight proved my point.”
Later he posted his mug shot, saying “maybe this made it all worth it.”
Gateway Pundit’s story about the evening was headlined “FAR LEFT MOB SHUTS DOWN LUCIAN WINTRICH SPEECH AT UCONN-Students riot-Lucian Arrested!”
It was “a very disappointing evening,” UConn president Susan Herbst said in a statement afterward, according to the Associated Press.
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