Dickinsonians Reflect on President Trump’s First 100 Days


Photo Courtesy of Gaby Fleming Facebook page

The rally was held in Harrisburg on Saturday.

Drew Kaplan ’20, Associate Opinion Editor

Saturday, April 29 marked the 100th day of President Donald Trump’s administration and he hosted a rally in Harrisburg to celebrate.

Gaby Fleming ’18 attended the rally and thought it was “very energetic and definitely a historic moment to be a part of. As someone who is connected to several branches of the military through family and friends it is always particularly moving to me to see in person Trump’s continued respect and support for those that fight to protect our freedoms every day.”

In an article dated April 22, however, The Philadelphia Inquirer characterized President Trump’s first 100 days as “a period that has been marked by tumult, a few victories and several unaccomplished proposals.”

Krysti Oschal ’17, President of the College Republicans, said that she has “been very impressed with what President Trump has been able to do thus far in his presidency. He was able to cut back a lot of the regulations that were put in place by executive order under the Obama administration. He’s helping to bring jobs back to America and he’s drawing a hard line in foreign policy to make sure that everyone knows where America stands and knows that America isn’t afraid to stand up for what we said we were going to stand up for.”

Noah Frank ’20, had a different take on the Trump presidency thus far. “For the large part, it’s been an entry level presidency. He has the least experience of past presidents. Past presidents have [had a mixture] in varying degrees: business, military and government. He has 100 percent business, and I don’t think his business sense is as good as it’s been chalked up to be.”

“Most presidents, in their first 100 days, they pass a lot of legislation,” continues Frank, “We’ve not really seen that with Trump. He’s appointed a Supreme Court Justice, rescinded some executive orders. Very calamitous foreign policy. At first, he was very open to Russia, now he’s cutting back. He’s learning as he goes. His presidency has been a reality TV presidency. He had all 100 senators come to the White House for a brief[ing] on North Korea. He is much more [concerned with] the appearance of doing something than actually doing things.”

Philip Morabito ’17, president of College Democrats, commented that during Trump’s first 100 days “we’ve experienced a series of failed policies and frequent conflicts of interest that have hindered the work that needs to get done for the betterment of our nation.”  He reasons that “In response, many Americans who do not feel that their interests are being represented by this administration are becoming more civically engaged. This is evidenced by the unprecedented number of Democrats running for office right here in Cumberland County in 2017.”

Thus far, Trump has named Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and dispatched a naval fleet to Asia. However, Trump’s travel ban was found unconstitutional by three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and Congressional Republicans were unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a promise Trump campaigned on.

Fleming reported being “pleased with President Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his array of government deregulation in order to promote job growth and his action of pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. I am additionally pleased that abortion is no longer being promoted through American tax dollars overseas.” 

Student responses to Trump and U.S. politics were wide ranging. Oschal said, “I think that it’s very important that the country, regardless of who you supported, either in the primaries or the general election, that we support our president, and hope that he does do well, because if he does well, then our country does well.”

Frank responded, “I think Dickinson as a whole is pretty politically inactive. It’ll kind of pop up around an election time, but also, the campus is a lot more diverse than it seems. It may give off a kind of liberal ethos, but there are a lot of closet conservatives. I do think they are somewhat justified in feeling that they can’t discuss their beliefs openly. I do think we could have a healthier political climate, but overall, things are pretty non-intense, not very open.”

Troy Thornton ’17 said, “Overall, it’s kinda f*cked on all sides around. You don’t want to have to think of a total system reboot, but it seems like too many issues. Both campaigns were screwed. One was Trump, and one ignored the changing political climate of the country; the populism and all that. It was poorly done all around.”

Keelan Calderwood ’19 said, “I would probably say that I dislike Trump, I didn’t vote for him. I don’t think he should be president, but I think there are a lot of minor things that people are sh*tting on him for being a bad president. But in reality, people sh*tting on him for the whole Syria crisis – Obama did very similar things. Anyways, Trump is really settling in to his presidency and realizing that there are not as many things that he can do, and he realistically has to abide by the way the U.S. government works.”

Professor of political science Edward Webb said he is “tired. It’s exhausting.”

Calderwood said, “I mean, it’s a liberal arts school, I think we are super liberal. I think there are a lot of people who are afraid to not be super liberal about things because of just how liberal Dickinson is, but I think that compared to most liberal arts schools we’re definitely not as liberal as others, [although] the political climate maybe around the time of the election was super-heated.”

Fleming mentioned that she finds campus to be “particularly volatile towards conservative thought.”  She believes “it’s important that we maintain an atmosphere of respect and I think as Dickinsonians we all have a lot of work to do in order to truly promote that and to uphold free speech. Personally, I think we need to step away from a culture where being offended is equated to physical harm and begin having meaningful discussions where we can all at least make attempts to empathize, or at least sympathize with those that differ from us, even if we may fail initially.”