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Co-founder of Students for Trump charged with assaulting a woman with a firearm

Ryan Fournier, pictured here speaking at a rally in Sugar Hill, Georgia in 2021, has been charged with assaulting a woman with a firearm.
David J. Griffin
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Ryan Fournier, pictured here speaking at a rally in Sugar Hill, Georgia in 2021, has been charged with assaulting a woman with a firearm.

The co-founder of a popular young Republicans' group, Students for Trump, was arrested and charged with assault last week, court documents show.

Ryan Fournier, 27, is accused of grabbing a woman's arm and "striking her in the forehead with a firearm," according to a magistrate's order filed with North Carolina's Johnston District Court. He faces two misdemeanor charges: assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon.

Fournier was released on Nov. 21, the same day of his arrest, after posting a $2,500 bond. He waived his right to an assigned attorney and is scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 18.

Fournier co-founded Students for Trump in 2015 while a freshman at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. The organization grew to over 350 campus chapters and was credited with turning out thousands of young conservative voters in the 2016 election.

According to his website, Fournier now leads the group Radical Alert, which aims to expose "radicals" and their "hate" who have "taken over American college campuses."

NPR emailed Fournier requesting comment but had not received a response by the time this article was published. His social media accounts have continued to post political content this week, but have yet to mention his arrest.

Fournier's arrest is far from the first time the young conservative has made headlines.

In 2018, the Daily Beast reported that Students for Trump had refused to disclose its donors under Federal Election Commission guidelines. The following year, the liberal watchdog group Media Matters accused Fournier of hiring a white nationalist as director of the Students for Trump campus ambassador program.

Fournier's Students for Trump co-founder, John Lambert, accepted a federal plea deal in 2019 and was sentenced to 13 months in prison for a wire fraud scheme that collected over $46,000.

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Students for Trump was acquired by Turning Point Action, the conservative student group led by Charlie Kirk, but Fournier was kept on as its chairman.

The Washington Post reported that Students for Trump was trying to claw back control over its assets earlier this year — a move the Post attributed to debate inside Turning Point over how closely it should align itself with former president Donald Trump heading into the 2024 election.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Olson
Emily Olson is on a three-month assignment as a news writer and live blog editor, helping shape NPR's digital breaking news strategy.
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