Trump pledges executive order to protect free speech on college campuses

President Trump is vowing to sign an executive order requiring U.S. colleges to support free speech on campus to be eligible for federal research funds after conservative activist Hayden Williams was attacked on the University of California, Berkeley campus last month.

"If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they've got to allow people like Hayden [Williams] and many other great young people and old people to speak," Trump said on Saturday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Campus Reform media director Cabot Phillips called the executive order "a step in the right direction," during an interview with FOX Business’ David Asman on "Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast" Monday.

"I would also encourage President Trump in this legislation to go ahead and do away with these free speech zones...Many students have no idea that those are unconstitutional in the first place. This order is something that should have bipartisan support," Phillips said.

Phillips added he sees the heart of this issue coming down to how people view the role of colleges and universities in America today and whether individuals view these institutions of higher learning as a "marketplace for ideas.”


"This is a trend that goes beyond Berkeley of speech being stifled, not just with violence or the threat of violence, but also with universities not doing enough to foster real debate on college campuses," he said.

Trump invited Williams, who was in the audience at CPAC Saturday, to address the crowd briefly, calling him strong and urging Williams to sue the university because of the episode. On Friday, UC Berkeley officials arrested Zachary Greenberg, 28, in connection with the attack on Williams last month.