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Climate Protester Thrown to the Ground After Interrupting Joe Manchin’s Harvard IOP Talk

A protester was thrown to the ground by an aide to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) after disrupting his Harvard IOP talk on Friday.
A protester was thrown to the ground by an aide to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) after disrupting his Harvard IOP talk on Friday. By Zadoc I.N. Gee
By William C. Mao and Dhruv T. Patel, Crimson Staff Writers

An aide to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) threw a climate action protester to the ground following a confrontation at a Harvard Institute of Politics event Friday morning.

The incident came just minutes after at least six protesters from Climate Defiance — a climate advocacy group — interrupted a talk Manchin was delivering at the Harvard Kennedy School. The protesters criticized Manchin’s support of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a controversial 300-mile natural gas pipeline in West Virginia that has been condemned by environmentalists.

“You sold our futures and got rich doing it, you sick fuck,” one person shouted, prompting Manchin to stand up from his chair to face the protester.

Manchin’s aide quickly jumped between the two of them, before pushing the protester out a door and shoving them to the ground. It was not immediately clear if the protester was injured following the confrontation.

In a video of the protest published on Climate Defiance’s X account, Manchin asked the protesters “to sit down somewhere so we can talk,” but the protesters turned down the offer.

“I’m not going to sit down,” a second protester said. “You’ve received more funding from fossil fuels than any other senator.”

A Kennedy School spokesperson confirmed that the event featuring Manchin was disrupted by protesters and said that the Harvard University Police Department and the Kennedy School are investigating the incident.

“A Harvard University police officer ordered the protesters to leave the Kennedy School campus, and the protesters complied,” the spokesperson said.

Manchin’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Summer A.L. Tan ’26 and Eamon “Cormac” C. OCearuil ’25, co-chairs of the IOP’s Fellows and Study Groups Program, declined to comment.

The altercation came a few minutes after Manchin began speaking, according to a person at the event.

“They kind of barged into the room, half dozen of them,” they said.

Manchin’s daughter — business executive Heather Bresch — was also in attendance and allegedly spoke out when the protesters disrupted the talk, a person at the event said.

“What I heard was: ‘Doesn’t anybody monitor the doors here?’” the person recalled Bresch saying.

Manchin was invited to speak at HKS by IOP Resident Fellow Allison King as part of King’s IOP study group to discuss his decision to not seek reelection in the upcoming 2024 elections.

After HUPD escorted the protesters out of the Kennedy School, the talk resumed, according to the Kennedy School spokesperson.

—Staff writer William C. Mao can be reached at Follow him on X @williamcmao.

—Staff writer Dhruv T. Patel can be reached at Follow him on X @dhruvtkpatel.

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