Kashuv has become a media talking point following his announcement Monday that Harvard University rescinded his admission over racist remarks he made privately as a 16-year-old.
“MSNBC Live” host Stephanie Ruhle asked Jolly to comment on the conservative response to Harvard’s decision. Jolly dismissed the argument put forth by many on the right that the school’s actions were motivated by politics and bias against conservatives.
“I think this is the perfect story for our time, when within our culture, we have leaders who are giving greater permission to racist statements and to people with racist feelings, they are given greater equity,” the former Florida lawmaker said. “I think it is important for Harvard to say, not in our community. That is not a voice we are going to give equity in our diverse community.”
Jolly went on to suggest that Kashuv’s offending comments, revealed last month in screenshots that circulated on social media, were cause for alarm.
“My immediate reaction when I really dug into this, these are the social media postings we see of a shooter and we ask, ‘Where were the signs?’ See something, Say something,” he said. “We see a shooter, and then we go back and look at social media posts and this is exactly what we see. I understand the sensitivity of this man toward Parkland. I’m not a mental health professional to assess him on those grounds. But what I’m suggesting—”
When Ruhle interjected, challenging Jolly on whether he’d gone “too far” and asking him if he felt comfortable making a “leap like that,” the one-time Republican doubled down.
“If an incident were to occur—and I‘m not saying it will with this young man—but these are the exact posts we find of people, particularly those who advocate for stronger gun rights, who has been given an audience with the President of the United States in the Oval Office, by [then-U.N. Ambassador] Nikki Haley as well, by Vice President Mike Pence, who was an invited guest to a rally to speak for [Republican Florida Reps.] Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis, who was a speaker at the NRA recently,” Jolly said.
“The young man deserves redemption,” Jolly added, “But he also deserves a closer look if someone with this profile should be able to purchase a firearm under the gun laws in the United States. I commend Harvard for making this decision. I think it was a clear-cut decision, on their part: no controversy at all.”
The Kyle Kashuv debate comes to MSNBC
Kashuv has proven a controversial figure in the American political landscape ever since he emerged as a pro-Second Amendment, conservative foil to fellow Parkland shooting survivors and progressive activists, such as David Hogg.
Many liberals on Twitter celebrated Harvard’s decision by mocking Kashuv.