President Donald Trump announced to CPAC on Saturday he would sign an executive order requiring colleges and universities getting federal research money to support free speech, after inviting the conservative activist assaulted last week in Berkeley up to speak during his address.
"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 dollars," Trump said before chants of "USA!" broke out. "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. Free speech."
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"If they don't, it will be very costly. That will be signed very soon," he added.
Before that, Trump brought up Hayden Williams, a Leadership Institute field representative who was violently attacked in an incident captured on-camera last week while recruiting for a conservative student group at the University of California-Berkeley.
Trump said the attack was "disgusting" and joked that, for the benefit of the media, he wouldn't wish similar treatment on the assailant.
"Just for the media, I'm sure he's a lovely young man, just had a little temper tantrum," Trump said. "I've been there before with those people, I don't want to do it again."
Trump invited Williams to speak, where he received an ovation from the crowd and said he was glad to speak on behalf of conservatives facing "discrimination" on campuses.
"I would just like to say, if these socialist progressives had their way, they would put the Constitution through the paper shredder in a heart beat," Williams said.
Williams said if Trump kept defending them, they would keep defending him. Trump praised him for being able to take a punch and advised him to sue his attacker, Berkeley and maybe the state of California.
"He took a punch for all of us … Here is the good news," Trump said. "He's going to be a very wealthy young man."
Williams, who was recruiting for the right-wing student group Turning Point on Berkeley's main plaza on Feb. 19, was accosted by two men who were upset with a sign referencing the harm of hate crime hoaxes in the wake of the Jussie Smollett case. One man flipped over his table, began shoving him and cursing at him, and punched him in the face, leaving Williams with a black left eye.
Zachary Greenberg, 28, was arrested on Friday for the assault.