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Mar 04 2017
by Karly Matthews

10 College Conservatives React to Trump's Sixth Week in Office

By Karly Matthews - Mar 04 2017

This week amid accusations of contact with Russian officials, specifically with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration charged forward into its sixth week holding the presidential office. President Trump announced that he will not be attending the prestigious White House Correspondents Dinner, his budget will drastically increase military spending and he presented his first Joint Address to Congress.

Fresh U caught up with 10 college conservatives to gain a different perspective of this week in the Trump administration:

1. Alexa Archambault, University at Buffalo, Political Science

“Donald Trump's joint address to Congress was definitely his best speech yet. It maintained a sense of unity throughout, which is something that is crucial during a time of significant division in our nation. I believe this speech will cause many more Americans to view him as 'presidential' and give him their support. While I do wish he focused more on issues such as Social Security and entitlements, what he did discuss was succinct, practical and patriotic. [It was] a refreshing change of pace from eight years of Obama's addresses, and I look forward to seeing if and how puts his policies into action.”

2. Caleb Wooton, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Economics

“Last night I watched Trump’s speech and I have to say that he blew me away. As a conservative, I don't think I could be more satisfied. In his speech he said he supports implementing a merit based immigration system and I think that's a great idea. He talked about securing the border. I like that he wants to increase defense spending. I'd like to see an audit of the Defense Department, which from what I understand Defense Secretary Mattis supports as well. They need to be efficient, just like anything else in government. And, I'm glad Trump isn't going to attend the Correspondent's Dinner. It's been nothing but a love session between the media and former president Obama; it would probably be the exact opposite for Trump.”

3. Morgan Lepre, Temple University, Political Science & Pre-Law

"I think these accusations [against Sessions] are a political witch hunt against AG Sessions. The Democrats have a history of falsely accusing Sessions of wrong-doing for their own political gain, and this is another example of that. We have no tangible evidence at this time that the Russians in fact influenced our elections, and this is another overwhelming attempt to delegitimize President Trump and his administration. We know that Sessions had words with a Russian Ambassador, but this means nothing; everything else that goes with the allegations is speculation. Sessions in attempt to show his partisanship as Attorney General has recuse himself from the investigation which I believe exemplifies the transparency of the Trump administration and very little will come of this."

4. Emily Hall, Harvard University, Government

“I found that President Trump struck a new chord in his Tuesday night address. He seemed to be making more of an effort to unify the country and acknowledge the need to govern inclusively as President of the United States, rather than only for those who voted for him. While I still disagree with him substantively on some of his policies, I hope that this speech signals a more permanent change in the rhetoric that he uses moving forward.”

5. Corrie Faith Lee, Campbell University, Trust & Wealth Management & Pre-Law

"I think that making any kind of assumption without the support of evidence that can proven beyond a reasonable doubt is premature. Jeff Sessions recusing himself was undoubtedly the right thing to do, but I would wait until there is more solid ruling about his interactions with Russia, and the actual relationship he had before calling for him to resign or be removed."

6. Ryan DeMara, Villanova University, Communications & Political Science

“I was happy with President Trump’s speech the other night. The highlight was when he recognized Carryn Owens, the widow of fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. It was an extremely touching moment and should remind us of the sacrifices that those who protect and defend us in uniform and their families make every day. Republican or Democrat, supporting our soldiers is something that everyone can get behind.”

7. Samantha Zinnen, University of Wisconsin-Madison, History

"I don't believe President Trump attending the White House Correspondent's Dinner matters in the grand scheme of things. It’s not going to define his presidency. It's sensational news now, but will fade. I was surprised by his decision, and would have liked to see his speech that night. But, I care more about his leadership on policy and in meetings representing the United States above nerd prom attendance."

8. Seijah Drake, Lasell College, Communications & Public Relations

"I think the amount of time we've spent talking about Russia in general is embarrassing and that the left should be ashamed of themselves. This is a carefully constructed witch hunt against the Trump administration with no substantial evidence to back it up. Hillary Clinton lost fair and square based on her own failures and it's time for Democrats in Washington to accept that, accept Trump and confirm his cabinet. They're scapegoating an entire country for their crushing defeat in 2016 and fear-mongering, which is ironic given that's what they constantly accuse Trump of doing. Jeff Sessions did nothing wrong; we are witnessing the rapid decline of the Democratic Party and they're understandably upset and out for blood."

9. Chris Beyer, Missouri State University, Socio-Political Communications

"I believe that the address to Congress President Trump delivered was probably the best speech Trump has given since his announcement speech. During the Republican primary, I was not fond of Trump, and even now I have my disagreements with certain policy stances and statements he has said. That said, President Trump's address was unifying at its core. He laid out his agenda as to how he intends to better Americans and I think by most it was well received."

10. Dennis Schuck, Seton Hall University, Political Science

"Jeff Sessions being linked to having Russian ties is a bit concerning because it provides Democrats reason to continue going against the Trump administration and further pushing back everything the President is trying to accomplish. If it is in fact true, then I would honestly feel really betrayed by a man who is supposed to be playing a large part in running our country and then I would become skeptical about who else may have the same ties. With that being said, if it is untrue, then I would be disappointed in whoever continues to push false rumors in order to stop the Trump administration's agenda from going through. There is still a lot to find out when it comes to this story, so I guess now all we can do is wait and see what happens."

Even though it may seem like America is deeply divided by support and opposition to this administration, a simple conversation with someone with whom you disagree can open a constructive dialogue to move this country forward.

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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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