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Threat to impeach UF student body president is ‘completely outrageous,’ Florida Republicans say

University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) [JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP]
FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) [JOHN MINCHILLO | AP]
Published Nov. 15, 2019
Updated Nov. 17, 2019

State Republicans are rallying behind Michael Murphy, student body president at the University of Florida who faces impeachment after details emerged about his connections to President Donald Trump.

Murphy agreed to pay $50,000 in public student funds to Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Kimberly Guilfoyle, an adviser to the president’s 2020 reelection campaign, for speeches the pair gave on campus Oct. 10.

An email surfaced later that showed Murphy planned the event with an official working for the campaign. Amid outrage by some student senators and hundreds who protested the speeches, he was served Tuesday with a resolution for his impeachment.

READ: UF student president faces impeachment over Trump Jr. visit

Two days later, the Republican Party of Florida posted a petition titled “Stand with UF’s Student Body President” on its website. It includes a link to a fundraising page for the GOP.

“It’s completely outrageous that the UF student president is facing impeachment for bringing Donald Trump Jr. to speak on campus,” the petition page reads. “If it was Chelsea Clinton, they’d be praising him. Enough is enough!”

Multiple messages left with the party’s main office in Tallahassee Thursday morning had not been returned as of 3 p.m. It is unclear who started the petition, as well as who has signed it and how much money has been raised.

Also on Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott, Florida’s former governor, tweeted a defense of Murphy. Like the petition page, Scott contended that calls for the student’s impeachment are the result of a “pervasive trend" that shuts conservative voices out of college campuses.

Multiple media outlets, including the New York Times, reported Thursday that Murphy is being represented by Tallahassee attorney Daniel E. Nordby, who served as general counsel to Scott as governor. Nordby did not immediately return a call for comment.

Echoing Scott and the Florida GOP, Nordby gave reporters a statement that said the situation at UF “is reflective of students on college campuses across America that are intolerant of conservative views.”

Trump Jr. tweeted about the issue, also linking the possible impeachment to an effort to limit conservative ideas at universities.

UF weighed in, too, Friday, releasing a statement clearing Murphy of any wrongdoing. It said the agreement between student government and the speakers was reviewed before and after the event and “determined to be compliant with all applicable laws, policies and processes."

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