There is a specter haunting the minds of U.S. conservatives. That specter is the purported disintegration of free speech rights across college campuses. But it’s really all in their heads, according to none other than President Donald Trump.
During a White House forum dedicated to addressing issues facing conservative millennials, Trump fielded a series of questions from diaper aficionado and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
At one point during the interview, Kirk asked “[W]hat advice do you have for young patriots and conservatives on campus that support your agenda that are being ridiculed and silenced because of administrators that are clamping down on free speech?”
To which Trump replied … by dismissing the entire premise of the question:
I think the numbers are actually much different than people think. I think we have a lot of support. If they have one campus or two campuses, and we know what they are, it gets all the publicity. We have campuses where you have a vast majority of people that are perhaps like many of the people in this room–you could call it conservative, you call it whatever you want–but there are people that want free speech.
The president continued, eroding his interviewer’s position still further, by chalking up the perception of a crisis due to inordinate media exposure over isolated incidents.
Trump said, “If you look at what’s going on with free speech, with the super-left, with Antifa, with all of these characters–I’ll tell you what, they get a lot of publicity, but you go to the real campuses and you go all over the country, you go out to the Middle West, you go out even to the coast in many cases, we have tremendous support [for free speech]. I would say we have majority support. I think it’s highly overblown. Highly overblown.”
According to the latest data, President Trump is correct. Millennials highly prize free speech rights.
Kirk responded without responding to the substance of the president’s remarks.
Instead, he thanked the administation for its commitment to free speech, specifically Jeff Sessions‘ intervention into one student’s First Amendment lawsuit and the vast amount of publicity that intervention garnered from the press.
After Trump finished his remarks, he introduced Kellyanne Conway, who was due to moderate a panel titled, “The Crisis on College Campuses.”
[image via screengrab/Raw Story]