Donald Trump attacks Robert Mueller, Green New Deal and college campuses in CPAC speech

Trump attacked the Russia investigation and the Green New Deal during a controversial speech at CPAC

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 3, 2019 10:00AM (EST)

Donald Trump; Robert Mueller (AP/Salon)
Donald Trump; Robert Mueller (AP/Salon)

President Donald Trump went on a rambling rant against special counsel Robert Mueller, the Green New Deal and campus free speech during a controversial address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

Trump foreshadowed the inflammatory content of his speech by warning the crowd that "you know I’m totally off script right now and this is how I got elected, by being off script. And if we don’t go off script, our country’s in big trouble, folks, because we have to get it back," according to The Guardian.

Perhaps the president's most conspicuous target was Mueller and the Trump-Russia investigation, if for no other reason than that crisis poses the most serious legal threat to his presidency.

"We're waiting for a report by people who weren't elected," Trump decried to the alternately cheering and booing crowd, according to the BBC. He later added, "Unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions and they leave people for a long time that shouldn't be there and all of a sudden they are trying to take you out with bullshit, okay?"

Trump also lashed out at the media for citing his infamous July 2016 press conference — one in which he openly encouraged the Russian government to find Hillary Clinton's 30,000 missing emails — as proof that there had been collusion. He argued that his remarks were intended as jokes.

The president struck a sarcastic note when condemning the Green New Deal, a progressive Democratic policy agenda that would merge environmental measures with the cause of economic justice.

"I think the new green deal, or whatever the hell they call it. The Green New Deal, right? I encourage it. I think it’s really something that they should promote," Trump told the audience.

He added, "No planes. No energy. When the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric. ‘Let’s hurry up. Darling, darling, is the wind blowing today? I’d like to watch television, darling.’"

Trump also touched upon the campus free speech controversy by mentioning Hayden Williams, a conservative activist who claims he was punched in the face at the University of California Berkeley last week, according to CNN. Conservatives have long claimed that college campuses have become intolerant of right-wing thinkers and the president threatened to sign an executive order cutting off federal research dollars to campuses that were found to not be accepting of free speech.

"If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they've got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak," Trump told the cheering crowd. He had Williams by his side when he made the announcement.

The speech lasted more than two hours, according to Reuters, and was punctuated with colorful language, most notably when Trump insisted his opponents were trying to take him out with "bullshit."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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