David McCormick calls for UPenn’s Magill to be fired after congressional testimony

McCormick’s comments escalate pressure on the university after other Pennsylvania leaders condemned the university president’s comments on antisemitism

Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

David McCormick speaks at The Opportunity Network's 10th Annual Night of Opportunity Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on April 24, 2017 in New York City.

David McCormick, the Republican running for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat in 2024, called for University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill to be fired after her widely condemned testimony to the House on Tuesday.

McCormick’s comments came amid a day of pressure on the Penn president from leaders in Pennsylvania, although McCormick went further than any of the state’s top leaders in directly calling for Magill’s ouster.

“I today call on Penn’s board of trustees to immediately remove President Magill and replace her with a leader who understands that calling for genocide against Jews is wrong and it must be combatted,” McCormick said in a statement to Jewish Insider, referring to Magill’s equivocal answer on whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate Penn’s policies on bullying and harassment.

“Based on President Magill’s performance in the Congress yesterday, she lacks the depth, understanding and awareness of how antisemitism is real and how it must be fought,” McCormick continued. 

He added that Magill’s failures extended beyond Tuesday’s hearing to a weekslong failure to “respond appropriately as antisemitic incidents mounted on her campus.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who is running for reelection against McCormick in the battleground state, criticized Magill in a statement to JI yesterday but stopped short of calling for her removal.

“President Magill’s comments yesterday were offensive, but equally offensive was what she didn’t say,” Casey said. “The right to free speech is fundamental, but calling for the genocide of Jews is antisemitic and harassment, full stop.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, also raised the prospect of Magill’s ouster in an interview with JI on Wednesday, saying that the school’s board should discuss whether her testimony “represents the views and values of the University of Pennsylvania.”

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) slammed Magill, as well as Harvard President Claudine Gay, who leads his alma mater and also testified at Tuesday’s hearing.

“It’s just appalling. It’s astonishing. Every one of the presidents’ testimony was incredibly, just, subpar,” Fetterman told JI yesterday. “I’m embarrassed by how [antisemitism on these campuses has] been handled.”

In a video statement released Wednesday evening, Magill said she was “focused [during the hearing] on our university’s long standing policies, aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable.”

“I was not focused on the fact — but I should have been — the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate,” she continued, calling it “evil” and “threatening.”

She said that in her view it would constitute harassment and intimidation and that the school’s speech policies need to be “clarified and evaluated.”

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