President Trump announced Saturday he intends to sign an executive order mandating colleges and universities take steps to guarantee free speech to attain federal research grants.
“We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas. These ideas are dangerous,” Trump said. “Instead we believe in free speech, including online and including on campus.”
“Today I’m proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research grants.”
The announcement came after he brought Hayden Williams on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Williams is a conservative activist who was punched in the face at the University of California at Berkeley last month while assisting the university’s chapter of the right-wing group Turning Point USA.
Trump threatened that refusing to abide by the executive order would impose a heavy cost on their budgets.
“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak. Free speech. If they don’t, it will be very costly,” he warned.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill seeking additional guidance on the executive order.
Free speech has emerged as a chief motivator for conservatives in recent years, particularly after several prominent conservative speakers, such as right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, had events canceled at campuses across the country.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump tweeted in February 2017 after an event with Yiannopoulos was canceled following clashes resulting from his invitation.