National Harbor, Md. — Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn ended his speech Thursday at the Con­ser­v­ative Political Action Con­ference by claiming Pres­ident Donald Trump’s actions prove he is a conservative.

“Even if he talks about himself too much, if he’s fearless in saying that he’s going to cut back that vast hedge that has overcome so much of our country and if he does that fear­lessly and is not afraid of political cor­rectness, I think that guy’s a con­ser­v­ative,” Arnn said.

Arnn spoke about the first prin­ciples that define con­ser­vatism, namely that all men are created equal and that gov­ern­ments are insti­tuted to secure the lib­erties of all indi­viduals. Arnn argued the admin­is­trative state is the greatest threat to this equality and liberty, but he said he believes that Trump will fight against it.

“What I’m trying to con­serve and also restore is those original arrange­ments — the best in human history,” Arnn said on the Con­sti­tution and sep­a­ration of powers.

Aryssa Damron, 21, from New Haven, Con­necticut, said Arnn sounded like an “old-school” con­ser­v­ative fighting against change for its own sake. She said his first-prin­ciples approach may be prob­lematic outside of con­ser­v­ative circles.

“It will be effective for people here, but people who don’t go here won’t be receptive to his argu­ments from first prin­ciples,” Damron said.

Although Arnn said he sees hope in Trump for the con­ser­v­ative movement, he noted he doesn’t always demon­strate the prin­ciples espoused in Hills­dale’s Honor Code.

“The Trump cam­paign has pre­sented special chal­lenges, because there are obvi­ously a lot of great things about that guy, but we don’t teach our stu­dents at Hillsdale College to act the way he does on all occa­sions,” Arnn said to a chuckling audience.

Hillsdale stu­dents expressed similar reser­va­tions about Trump as a man but said they were opti­mistic about him as president.

“I think that you have to take the good with the bad, but, in the end, he will uphold con­ser­v­ative values,” junior Mark Englert said.

Freshman Doyle Wang said he had some of his fears relieved about Trump, when he heard that he reads Hillsdale’s pub­li­cation Imprimis.

“I was highly skep­tical he would govern as a con­ser­v­ative,” Wang said. “But he made some great Cabinet appoint­ments, he is the best person to repeal Oba­macare, and he has the guts like no other Repub­lican since Reagan to seri­ously implement con­ser­v­ative policies.”

Cy Sineath, an Imprimis sub­scriber from Georgia, said he was happy to hear Arnn defend Trump against crit­i­cisms only rooted  in his per­sonal char­acter. Sineath said that will not affect his deci­sions as president.

“I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Arnn, who is a true patriot and defender of the Con­sti­tution,” Sineath said. “The fact that Trump isn’t beholden to anyone will allow him to govern like a con­ser­v­ative. He is a true citizen president.”