In one of his longest – and characteristically wide-ranging – speeches as president, Donald Trump Saturday went after both Democrats and fellow Republicans, said people are trying to get him out of office with “bull—-,” and announced he will be signing an executive order to require universities to allow “free speech” or forfeit federal dollars.
“I’m in love. You’re in love. We’re all in love together,” Trump said about 30 minutes into his approximately two-hour speech to supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland.
Trump’s appearance follows a week in which his former attorney Michael Cohen accused him of criminal conduct in testimony before Congress. He also visited Vietnam for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that failed to produce a nuclear weapons deal.
North Korea has contradicted Trump’s account of the failed negotiations in Hanoi. And Trump was criticized Friday for his apparent acceptance of Kim’s denial that he had any involvement in the death of a young American who had been held in North Korean custody.
Trump said Saturday he was in a “horrible position” over the situation with Otto Warmbier.
“In one way, I have to negotiate. In the other, I love Mr. and Mrs. Warmbier. And I love Otto,” Trump said. “It’s a very, very delicate balance.”
‘Of course I hold North Korea responsible’: Trump says Warmbier comments ‘misinterpreted’
Otto Warmbier’s parents: ‘Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son’
In his introduction of Trump, Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said that when the president wants to recharge, he returns to his base.
After stepping out on the stage and hugging an American flag, Trump did a lot of recharging. He reveled in the applause and remarked more than once that the crowd was still with him during the lengthy address.
“I’m watching those doors and not one person has left,” Trump said near the end. “And I’ve been up here a long time.”
Here are some of the highlights of the address:
Free speech executive order
Trump invited on stage Hayden Williams, a conservative activist punched on the University of California at Berkeley’s campus last month.
Trump urged Williams to sue the college and possibly the state of California.
“He’s going to be a very wealthy young man,” Trump said. “Go get ’em, Hayden.”
He also announced he will be signing “very soon” an executive order requiring schools to “respect free speech” if they want to continue receiving federal research dollars.
“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden to speak,” Trump said.
The White House has not announced any details about the executive order.
Dismissing the investigations
Trump denounced as a “collusion delusion” special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
“We’re waiting for a report by people who weren’t elected,” Trump said. “All of a sudden, they’re trying to take you out with bull—-.”
Cohen testified before Congress this week that Trump was aware of his associate Roger Stone’s communications with the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks regarding emails that U.S. intelligence agencies say were stolen by Russian operatives from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee officials.
‘I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore.’: Michael Cohen ties the president to ongoing criminal probes
Michael Cohen’s testimony prompts a new: In web of Trump investigations, is anyone safe?
Trump told CPAC he was “having fun with the audience” when he publicly challenged Russia during the campaign to find Hillary Clinton’s emails.
And he complained that the investigation has morphed into inspecting every deal he’s ever done.
“I saw ‘Little Shifty Schiff,'” Trump said, referring to Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “and he said, ‘We’re going to look into his finances.’ Where did that come from?”
CPAC: Van Jones slammed as ‘sell-out’ for praising conservatives on criminal justice reform
CPAC: Michelle Malkin attacks the ‘ghost of John McCain’ in immigration talk at CPAC
CPAC draws the biggest names in conservative politics, government and media. Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Friday as did conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Candace Owens. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who drew criticism for a tweet he sent about Cohen the day before his testimony, also is slated to speak Saturday afternoon.
This article provided by NewsEdge.