At 3:30 Thursday afternoon President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign the executive order he promised while speaking at the far right Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) several weeks ago. The order, framed as protecting “free speech” on college and university campuses, is actually a direct threat to defund them by rescinding a wide array of federal grants for research and other programs.
“I will be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars” @realDonaldTrump #CPAC2019 #WhatMakesAmericaGreat pic.twitter.com/hyeNZ3jI6F
— CPAC 2020 (@CPAC) March 2, 2019
Trump isn’t actually advocating for “free speech,” he’s working to make it easier for far right extremist groups and their positions to enter the marketplace of ideas – unencumbered, and without context or warning, on the nation’s colleges and universities. It is a literal attempt to move the nation to the right – or alt-right – starting with college-aged Americans.
Leading up to the push for the executive order are several years of conservative outrage that came to national attention when far right wing or extremist pundits like Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Milo Yiannopoulos saw their speeches canceled at various colleges, mostly due to overwhelming outrage from students who pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to receive an education.
According to the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., today’s executive order is the result of a “push” from the far right wing group Turning Point USA (TPUSA), founded by conservative activist Charlie Kirk.
Super excited today that @realdonaldTrump is signing an executive order today to protect free speech rights for ALL students!
A big momentous day! #MAGA
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 21, 2019
Kirk, perhaps best known for being a close friend of Donald Trump Jr., is also known for the embarrassingly false tweets he produces on a regular basis. Trump Jr. and TPUSA are closely aligned, as are TPUSA and the Trump campaign. Politico calls Kirk “Trump’s man on campus,” and The Weekly Standard called him “Kid Trump.” Trump last year was interviewed by Kirk at a White House event for college students hosted by an anti-gay hate group.
One year ago, almost as if publishing a prediction, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) warned of “Turning Point USA’s blooming romance with the alt-right.”
Fast forward to this past December.
Kirk and TPUSA’s Communications Director Candace Owens traveled to London to launch Turning Point in the UK, as Buzzfeed News reported last month.
Owens, in a discussion with potential recruits, brought up Hitler and, as many reports state, appeared to defend him, saying, “if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany.”
Headlines encapsulated her remarks:
“Candace Owens: Hitler Was ‘OK’ Until He Tried to Go Global” (Daily Beast)
“One of Trump’s most vocal black supporters seemed to defend Hitler in a recent speech” (Washington Post)
“Candace Owens’ Bonkers Take On Nationalism Includes A Defense Of Hitler” (Huffpost)
“Candace Owens: If Hitler Was Just a Nationalist, He’d Be Fine” (Ebony)
One year earlier, in December of 2017, the award winning journalist Jane Mayer at The New Yorker published an article on TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”
That lengthy and in-depth article includes this disturbing revelation:
As Turning Point’s profile has risen, so has scrutiny of its funding and tactics. Internal documents that I obtained, as well as interviews with former employees, suggest that the group may have skirted campaign-finance laws that bar charitable organizations from participating in political activity. Former employees say that they were directed to work with prominent conservatives, including the wife of the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in aid of Republican Presidential candidates in 2016. Perhaps most troubling for an organization that holds up conservatives as the real victims of discrimination in America, Turning Point USA is also alleged to have fostered an atmosphere that is hostile to minorities. Screenshots provided to me by a source show that Crystal Clanton, who served until last summer as the group’s national field director, sent a text message to another Turning Point employee saying, “i hate black people. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.”
This is the organization that President Trump, the Trump family, and the Trump campaign are not only intimately involved with, but now creating national policy with.
All Americans, but especially college students, educators, researchers, and actual civil rights supporters and advocates, should be extremely concerned.
Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’
Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.
The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.
United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.
Lots of red hats — but not many COVID masks — at Bedminster ‘Cops for Trump’ event with the president
Enhanced unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, but the president of the United States left Washington, DC on Friday for yet another weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
"This weekend’s trip to Trump National Bedminster is the president’s 23rd since taking office, and will increase his golf-related taxpayer tab to $142 million in travel and security expenses," HuffPost White House corresponded S.V. Dáte reported Friday. "Trump has already spent 268 days on golf courses that he owns in his 1,303 days in office, of which 85 have been at Bedminster."
Trump declares that Fox News is ‘no longer the big deal’ in the 2020 presidential campaign
Donald Trump on Friday reflected on what he sees as the key differences between his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.
"The biggest difference between the Presidential Race in 2020 and that of 2016 is the 2016 candidate, Crooked Hillary Clinton, was much smarter and sharper than Slow Joe, we have even more ENTHUSIASM now, and [Fox News] has become politically correct and no longer the big deal!" Trump tweeted after arriving at his Bedminster Golf Club for the weekend.
Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by the network and its polls, which gave him more bad news on Thursday.