TRUMP CALLS FOR FREE SPEECH

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY MICHAEL D. SHEAR The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this story.

Pres­i­dent Trump said he would is­sue an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that would re­quire col­leges to pro­tect views of all col­lege stu­dents.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Sat­ur­day that he planned to is­sue an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that would help guar­an­tee free speech at col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties by putting their fed­eral aid at risk if they do not pro­tect the view­points of stu­dents of all po­lit­i­cal stripes.

The pres­i­dent made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing a ram­bling two-hour speech to ac­tivists at the Con­ser­va­tive Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Con­fer­ence out­side Wash­ing­ton, but he did not pro­vide any de­tails about the pos­si­ble ex­ec­u­tive or­der. Sev­eral White House of­fi­cials did not re­spond to emails or tele­phone calls seek­ing ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion.

The White House did not re­spond to ques­tions about when the pres­i­dent might sign the or­der.

But Trump elec­tri­fied the crowd, which in­cluded many col­lege-age con­ser­va­tives, who leapt to their feet when he pledged to hold school ad­min­is­tra­tors ac­count­able for en­sur­ing that con­ser­va­tives were per­mit­ted to ex­press their views on cam­puses.

As he made the an­nounce­ment, the pres­i­dent cited the case of Hay­den Wil­liams, a young ac­tivist who was beaten up last month as he was re­cruit­ing for a con­ser­va­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley – long one of the lead­ing cen­ters of lib­eral aca­demic thought.

“If they want our dol­lars, and we give it to them by the bil­lions, they’ve got to al­low peo­ple like Hay­den and many great young peo­ple, and old peo­ple, to speak,” Trump said, draw­ing huge ap­plause.

Trump in­vited Wil­liams, who was in the au­di­ence, to ad­dress the crowd briefly, call­ing him strong and urg­ing him to sue the univer­sity be­cause of the episode. Wil­liams thanked the pres­i­dent for sup­port­ing young con­ser­va­tives such as him­self.

The is­sue of free speech on col­lege cam­puses has for years been a cause célèbre among young con­ser­va­tive ac­tivists, who point to in­stances around the coun­try in which con­ser­va­tive voices have been shunned by lib­eral stu­dents and pro­fes­sors.

Milo Yiannopou­los, a con­ser­va­tive speaker and pro­fes­sional provo­ca­teur, was forced to can­cel ap­pear­ances at col­leges, in­clud­ing Berke­ley, af­ter stu­dents threat­ened to boy­cott his speeches.

In 2017, at Clare­mont McKenna Col­lege, a pri­vate lib­eral arts school in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, about 250 peo­ple blocked en­trances to an au­di­to­rium where Heather Mac Don­ald, a con­ser­va­tive writer who has crit­i­cized the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, was speak­ing.

The same year, stu­dents at Mid­dle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont dis­rupted a speech by Charles Mur­ray, a scholar known for his 1994 book, “The Bell Curve,” which links so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus with race and in­tel­li­gence.

It is un­clear how Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der would change that dy­namic, though he hinted that uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges would have to do more to pre­vent such demon­stra­tions or risk the loss of grant money that the in­sti­tu­tions re­ceive from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to sup­port re­search.

He said the ex­ec­u­tive or­der would “re­quire col­leges to sup­port free speech if they want fed­eral re­search” fund­ing.

It’s not clear how long the idea has been un­der con­sid­er­a­tion at the White House or whether the pres­i­dent de­cided to pur­sue an ex­ec­u­tive or­der be­cause of the episode in­volv­ing Wil­liams, which Fox News and other con­ser­va­tive out­lets cov­ered ex­ten­sively.

It is also un­clear how much the pres­i­dent can with­hold fed­eral aid to col­leges with­out con­gres­sional ac­tion. Pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sions of that is­sue in con­ser­va­tive cir­cles have fo­cused on pass­ing leg­is­la­tion to change the re­quire­ments for col­leges to re­quest grant fund­ing from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Trump made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing one of the long­est speeches he has ever de­liv­ered, speak­ing for more than two hours to thou­sands at the con­clu­sion of the three­day an­nual con­ven­tion.

The cam­paign-like speech touched on dozens of hot-but­ton is­sues, in­clud­ing il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion. The pres­i­dent ac­cused “open bor­der” Democrats of let­ting mur­der­ers, rapists and drug deal­ers into the coun­try.

And more than two years af­ter he took of­fice, Trump again in­sisted that his in­au­gu­ral crowd was larger than his crit­ics have said. He bragged about the state of the econ­omy and de­nounced Democrats who he said sup­ported so­cial­ism.

PETE MAROVICH NYT

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hugs an Amer­i­can flag Sat­ur­day as he ar­rives at the an­nual Con­ser­va­tive Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Con­fer­ence in Na­tional Har­bor, Md.

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