Donald Trump is exploiting a victim of assault to punish liberals.
By Tate Coan, Online Editor
President Donald Trump and his supporters ignorantly claim that UC Berkeley does not support the First Amendment after a conservative activist was assaulted on campus.
Activist Hayden Williams was recruiting new members for Turning Point USA, a conservative group, on Berkeley’s campus when he was assaulted by a non-Berkeley student last month, according to The Washington Post. Trump is using the attack on Williams as leverage for a possible new executive order to defund the entire left-leaning school.
“Today I am proud to announce that I will very soon be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research [funds],” said Trump during his CPAC speech.
A common theme in Trump’s presidency is his clear misunderstanding of the First Amendment, which states that, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,” meaning that the government or institutions it funds, such as UC Berkeley, cannot legally punish someone because of an expressed opinion. Unless the person who attacked Williams was a UC Berkeley representative working on behalf of the institution, then the executive order would have affected nothing.
Turning Point USA is known for attempting to start a political revolution on college campuses by financially fueling right-leaning candidates in student government elections. They also have maintained Professor Watchlist, a website used to discredit college instructors who’ve allegedly discriminated against conservative students by discussing things like ‘fragile masculinity’; a soft spot for Trump supporters.
Trump thinks that because a fight broke out on a liberal campus that the government should just take away the school’s federal research funds because he supports the person that was punched. This shines light on another theme in Trump’s presidency; confusing a democracy for a dictatorship.
He preached a similar message on Twitter when he threatened to pull federal funds from California in response to the wildfires that took over 80 lives back in November.
“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests,” Trump ranted. “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
It seems odd that his response to California’s deadliest wildfire in history, according to the New York Times, is to take away federal funding until you realize that he lost California by over 3 million votes in the 2016 Presidential Election.
As California has consistently expressed their detest for Trump, he continues to threaten to use his federal power to impair them.
While the assault against Williams was wrong, Trump did not put forth the same efforts when Heather Heyer was murdered at the protests in Charlottesville in 2017. Heyer was with a group protesting a Unite the Right rally which ended up attracting KKK members, neo-Nazis and gun-nuts, when a man drove through a crowd of people, hitting and killing Heyer. If Trump fans didn’t consist of many KKK members neo-Nazis and gun-nuts maybe he would have spoken as negatively about the people at the Unite the Right Rally as he does about women.
When addressing the Charlottesville protests, Trump stated, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”