Division over the president coming to campus
BY AUTUMN OSIA
Amidst protests, chilly weather conditions and thousands of people lined up, Donald Trump hosted a campaign rally on Jan. 30 in the Drake University Knapp Center. The event reached its capacity of 7,000 people, but not everyone who was involved that day came out in support of the president.
During the rally, Vice President Mike Pence introduced the president, getting the crowd ready with praises of Trump’s work on the economy. Trump himself discussed a variety of topics including funding for veterans, the influx of jobs and immigration policies. In attendance were officials such as Governor Kim Reynolds and former Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Audience members in support of him reacted with shouts of support, or roars of protest, depending on the topic at hand. Many audience members had on campaign affiliated merchandise, such as “Women for Trump” shirts or the notorious “Make America Great Again” hats.
Supporters waited in line for a chance to get into the rally, with some even camping outside the day before. Those who had strong opinions of what they would like to see in the future involving a Trump presidency said they are proud of this past term.
“I definitely hope he gets elected for November 2020 and I hope he keeps doing what he’s doing,” Dan Poduska, a supporter, said. “He’s doing a great job and in my opinion, he’s really done the best for this country that he possibly could have.”
However, not everyone involved with the event shared the same sentiment of the supporters. On estimate, there were 40-50 Drake students and other organizers protesting outside, with them filtering in and out throughout the night. One of the protestors attending was identified as a member of the Sunrise Movement.
Sunrise is a new movement throughout the country that has been working in Iowa for the past six months. Volunteers for the Sunrise Movement work to pass the Green New Deal. With this in mind, the movement has officially endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for the upcoming election.
“A lot of people think that Trump needed to be invited to campus so that Drake University doesn’t seem partisan, but for me, it’s the difference between not supporting fascism and supporting fascism,” Sunrise Movement student activist Autumn Ellisor said. “So Donald Trump should have never been invited to our campus.”
Others attending the protest were there to advocate for their single-issue policies. President of Iowans for Alternatives to Smoking and Tobacco Sarah Linden was with other members of the organization protesting with signs promoting vape friendly legislation.
“I feel fine about the rally and we don’t have an issue with President Trump in any way,” Linden said. “We’re simply here because we want to be seen and heard.”
Those who gathered along Forest Avenue appeared to be completely polarized and divided. Views on Trump visiting Drake’s campus were seemingly split when it came to student opinions, from those who praised Drake’s decision to host a president as bipartisan and welcoming to those who found his rhetoric threatening to students’ well-being.