Week One of Trump's America

Words: Anthony Maranise Images: Lauren Jeu and Josh Colfer
Photo Above: Getty Images

On January 20, 2017, perhaps the most controversial President of the United States of America was sworn into office, defying the odds in a never-before-seen campaign across the American political landscape.

Beginning with his announcement on June 16, 2015 at the famed Trump Tower in New York, a plethora of news outlets immediately believed the press-conference to have either been a publicity stunt or an elaborate joke. The Huffington Post was so sure of the now-President’s initial announcement and his intentions, that it chose to run all coverage of his primary election candidacy in the Entertainment section rather than in its News or Politics sections.

Then candidate Trump joined the largest field of Republican Presidential candidates the United States has ever known, pushing his seemingly distant odds of winning even further. But by July, according to Reuters, the real-estate mogul was leading the pack in opinion polls among his 16 rivals for the highest office in the land.

By late May of 2016, Mr. Trump had secured enough primary delegates to become the official Republican Party nominee for President of the United States, where he would go on to face his toughest opponent yet…his own friend at one time, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Following a year-long, often vitriolic campaign, Mr. Trump defeated Secretary Clinton in the early-morning hours of November 9th. His victory, according to Politico, is considered the most unexpected Presidential upset in American history, followed by the election of Harry Truman in a distant second.

As our new (and perhaps still unexpected) President wraps up his first week in office, he has already generated a near-constant buzz among media outlets of both sides of the political spectrum—giving hope to his supporters, and cause for concern to his opponents.

On the Commander-in-Chief’s first day in office, almost immediately following his swearing-in ceremony, he signed three executive orders. The first initiated a repeal of the former President Obama’s namesake legislation, “Obamacare” (formally known as the Affordable Care Act) by relieving tax burdens on those not-yet-enrolled and pending repeal. Second, a waiver to allow James Mattis, who has not been retired from his former military command for the required seven years, to be appointed as Secretary of Defense. Finally, President Trump ordered a federal hiring freeze for all governmental personnel (excluding the military branch).

Day three brought with it another round of executive orders that included major victories for the Pro-Life movement. Included on that list was a return to the Reagan-era “Mexico City Policy,” which forbids any United States monetary aid to be given to international health organizations that provide pregnancy-termination (abortion services). Later that day, the President also signed an executive order to begin the United States' formal withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Days four and six brought with them much consternation from environmental, immigration, and Native-American rights activists as President Trump signed executive orders to re-authorize immediate planning and construction of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines (Day 4). His most recent executive order (Day 6) initiated the planning and construction of his oft-promised border wall between the United States and Mexico.

While these recent executive orders have drawn great ire among many throughout the U.S., they have also excited others. Rather than rely on polling data about approval ratings or quantitative data that responded to Mr. Trump’s executive orders and his actions thus far (which, if election polling data from the campaign trail taught us anything, can be seriously flawed), The Galleon sought to gather the opinions of the student body at Christian Brothers University (CBU). What follows are the responses and thoughts from those students.

Interviews have been condensed.

Eli Ostrow
Junior, Accounting
“I hope the President is successful in bringing the country together. His business acumen gives me hope, you know? He didn’t become that successful overnight. If he can stabilize, or at least begin to stabilize the national debt and our economy, I’m all for it.”

 

Briana Fleming
Freshman, Biology
“The same people who criticize the President – my question to them would simply be, “What are they personally doing, if anything to change the situation?” Because, like it or not, this man is our President now. He will be for four years. He always talked about wanting to “Make America Great Again,” well, I think there’s only so much one person can do.”

 

Dallas Shephard
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
“A great America is something where everyone’s kind of confident in the future, where it’s headed. A body of people can’t be great if it’s not unified, so a unified America would be great”

 

Kyle Fioranelli
Senior, Biology
“My particular concerns are for marginalized groups, especially women because this guy has said some less-than-flattering things about them, as well as minorities, particularly those who are dependent on the Affordable Care Act. If I had to give him one piece of advice, it would simply be to acknowledge the negatives about your administration so that we can continue to make progress and move forward.”

 

RaKesha Gray
Senior, Religion & Philosophy
“I don’t know that I am in any position to give advice to the President because I’ve never been in that position myself. I can, however, suggest ways I feel he should respond to others and I hope that’s with sympathy and concern for their worries. I would just like to see his supporters and opponents both become more agreeable with one another so we can work toward peace, and especially respect for groups on the periphery of society.”

 

Avyon Bess
Freshman, Business Administration
"I feel like his version of great America is the way we used to do things, like Kennedy-era America, when a lot of good things were happening—we went to the moon and civil rights, and we were more united towards certain causes."

 

Tara McElroy
International Student, Sophomore, Biology
“All this talk of “Make America Great Again”… America is not great because they are convinced they are the greatest country in the world. Perhaps if this President didn’t try to make so many enemies, but I think that ship has sailed. Maybe he could actually try and be a President for all people and not just his people. Good luck, America, on your next 4 years.”

 

Austin Brewer
“Some hope I have for Mr. Trump’s administration are that he is able to help the economy boom again, and that seems off to a good start. The Dow hit 20,000 for the first time in history and it took his election to do that. Also, I hope he does ensure that the United States remains a superpower. I guess if I had to give him any advice, it’d be to keep your word to those who elected you. Ignore your detractors; the media and just finish strong what you started.”

 

Chase Encalade
Junior, English for Corporate Communications
"As a liberal, we obviously don’t agree on how we should go about doing things, but I would just like the new president and his cabinet to keep in mind the rights of other people, and whether they’re using their rights to support you or not to support you, they still have their rights, and you just have to brush it off…don’t take it to heart and make a press conference about how the media lied, and you’re giving alternate facts, because alternate facts don’t exist. There’s one set of facts."

 

Xandrea White and Kristen Johnson
"I feel like the relationship with different countries is just going to be hindered a lot, and it just makes us look bad as a country to let someone like that represent us."
"It’s not just his values: he has no political or military experience at all. I was like, ‘can I put that on my resume: I don’t have experience for this job…neither did the president."

Anthony Maranise is an editor with The Galleon and a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Catholic Studies Program at CBU preparing for graduation in May of this year. Lauren Jeu serves as Creative Editor at the Galleon. Josh Colfer is the managing editor of the Galleon.

Posted by Josh Colfer at 1:47 PM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

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