As the one year anniversary of President Trumpâ€™s election rolls around, students reflect on the new administration following the surprising upset against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
â€œMy initial reaction was to kind of cringe, because I didnâ€™t want either of the main presidential candidates, because I thought they were both bad â€” but I thought everyone was bad,â€ said Travis Fulkerson, junior political science major and Tigers for Liberty (TFL) member. â€œI was surprised with the results going into it, but after the Wisconsin count came in, I wasnâ€™t surprised by the outcome.â€
Since taking office in January, Trump set forth with a variety of campaign promises, most of which students have observed he has not been able to follow through with.
â€œI think Trump’s time in office could definitely be a lot better than it currently is. The thing is, even though Congress, the president, and the bureaucracy are all a majority Republican, they can’t agree on much because Congress will be on one side of an issue while Trump will be on the other side of the issue,â€ wrote first-year TFL member Emma McMahan in an email interview. â€œIt’s hard to get legislation passed at this time. Honestly, Trump probably has more failures than successes â€¦ [but] I respect him as our president because he could be worse.â€
Other students express far more critical views of Trumpâ€™s time in office, pointing to widespread disapproval for the direction of his international policies.
â€œTrump is doing a very poor job of governing the country, in my opinion,â€ said Cristian Vargas, senior biology major and a member of the debate team. â€œIn terms of international support and policy, heâ€™s a joke. No country takes him seriously anymore, and a lot of our long-time allies are seriously worried because of his inflammatory rhetoric against countries such as North Korea, which is upending the strategy the United States and its allies have worked for decades to build.â€
Vargas is referring to the pattern of critical and sporadic tweets the president has garnered a reputation for. His Twitter presence makes students concerned for the reputation and ideology of our country.
â€œItâ€™s hard for me to imagine more of a disaster, to be honest with you, short of nuclear war,â€ said Callie Struby, junior political science and sociology double major. â€œI think itâ€™s astounding that heâ€™s lasted this long; I hesitate to say weâ€™re worse off logistically that we were before, because I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s necessarily true, but I think that in terms of the more theoretical aspects of what this country needs, itâ€™s been called into question by his presidency.â€
Discontent with Trumpâ€™s international performance is also reflected in studentsâ€™ opinions about his ability to govern domestically.
â€œThere are still several key positions in the state department that he has yet to fill,â€ Vargas said. â€œAs for his domestic policy, he hasnâ€™t been doing much on that front either so far … Not to mention all of the golf trips heâ€™s been taking.â€
In addition to these policies, members of the administration itself also received a lot of criticism.
â€œI think when you look, his cabinet nominees were controversial even within Republicans, like Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions received backlash for their discriminatory nature and history,â€ said Maddie Kennedy, junior political science major and co-president of Trinity Progressives. â€œI think hate crimes have been up since heâ€™s been elected, thereâ€™s been legislation and directives in various departments that have been impacting a lot of minority Americans â€” LGBTQ+ people were removed from the census.â€
The United States still has three years left of Trumpâ€™s administration. Students, while critical, still hold hope that the trajectory of the administration will change.
â€œAs for the future, I hope the administration will pass new tax reform legislation. Also, I hope border security will be tightened,â€ McMahan wrote. â€œAnother issue I hope to see with actual results is health care reform; I hope to see something different than Obamacare. Something that will help the majority of Americans.â€