For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Sep 03 2017
by Karly Matthews

6 Conservatives React to Trump's Month in Office: North Korea, Charlottesville & Arpaio

By Karly Matthews - Sep 03 2017
President Trump has had an arguably tumultuous month in office, which capped off with political violence in Charlottesville and a hurricane in Texas. Trump's reactions to those two events, coupled with the continued threats from North Korea and a controversial pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, captured the attention of conservative students, some with support and others with caution.

Fresh U caught up with six conservatives about specific current events regarding the president: North Korean threats, the events in Charlottesville and Sheriff Arpaio’s pardon.

1. Nathaniel DiDonato, Immaculata University, Emergency Planning & Management

“It is no secret that the Korean peninsula has been contested for many years. Kim Jong Un has recently threatened the U.S. Territory Guam. This obviously caused concern among the United States and its Asian Pacific allies. Asian Pacific allies (particularly Japan and even Australia) have [promised to] come to the defense of the United States if North Korea chose to attack the U.S. Territory Guam. The wildcard in this whole conflict (China), [will] even turned its back on North Korea if North Korea decides to attack first. The latest move by the United Nations impose[d] more sanctions on North Korea, [and] was voted on and passed without contest. North Korea has appeared to scale back its threats against Guam.

President Trump has of course been tweeting throughout the tensions and holding numerous press conferences regarding the looming North Korean threat. The United States, as it has always done, has been conducting military exercises and readiness drills with Asian Pacific partners. The United States has also staged more resources on Guam. The fact that heavier sanctions were passed, [that] Japan and Australia came out and [expressed willingness to defend] the United States if Guam was attacked and [that] Trump has stepped up military exercises and military readiness in the region leads me to believe that the region is united against the evil North Korean regime. Trump’s tweets and words are backed up by his actions. Unfortunately, this region will continue to be contested unless North Korea disarms itself. As an adopted South Korean and American citizen, I am very pleased with Trump’s response to the North Korean threats. Only time will tell what North Korea will do next.”

2. Autumn Price, Liberty University Law School, Year One Law

"I am appalled by the recent events in Charlottesville. Such acts of hatred have no place within the kingdom of Christ. I encourage my brothers and sisters to pray for healing in our nation, and that our eyes would be opened to the truth: that ALL individuals are created equal in the eyes of their Creator. Although I wish that President Trump's original response had been more condemning, I did appreciate his clarification and subsequent statement. Racism has no place in Virginia — the historic state that I love and call home. Such vile bigotry has no place in America at all."

3. Allie Vacarro, Elizabethtown College, Education

“From a political standpoint, I strongly disagree with President Trump’s pardoning of Sheriff Arpaio and think it was a bad decision this early in his presidency. Nobody is above the law, and, while this pardon is well within the President’s legal power, this decision undermines all his former comments regarding his unwavering respect for the rule of law. Mr. Arpaio has shown minimal remorse for his actions, which violated a court order and disrespected the citizens who elected him to fairly enforce the law. The Sheriff should have respected the court's authority, whether he agreed with the judge's decision or not. The way I see it, President Trump has set a dangerous precedent that his supporters in elected leadership positions can bend the rules as they see fit without fear of reprimand. While I do feel this was not the deliberate intent of the President's pardon, I do feel as though this decision lacked forethought and was, as Attorney General Sessions said, inappropriate.”

4. Alana Bannan, Washington State University, Broadcast Journalism

“What we saw happen… in Charlottesville should put us all to shame. There is no place in America for white supremacy or neo-Nazism and it is incredibly disheartening to see events like this take place in 2017. While President Trump eventually did call what happened white supremacy, I, like many others saw it as being too little too late. Beyond that, Trump dug himself an even bigger grave at his infrastructure presser. It is up to the President to call evil by its name when it happens. This is important because it allows no confusion on what is and what is not to be deemed condemnable by the President. As we move forward as a broken country, I can only hope President Trump tackles this issue head on and is not afraid to call out white supremacy for what it is.”

5. Matthew Mailloux, LaSalle University, Marketing & Finance

“The unique challenge of North Korea does not come as a surprise to those who have been keenly watching the reclusive nation’s nuclear capabilities grow and develop over the past several years. Inevitably, the era of 'strategic patience' would need to come to an end so long as the regime continued its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. What has been a surprise is the tone, approach and aggressiveness [that] President Trump has used in discussing the rogue nation. As noted earlier this month by Hoover Institute senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson, it is incredibly important that the United States avoid a disastrous ground war on the Korean Peninsula. The past 30 years of diplomacy, across presidents from both parties, have brought us to an unsteady place in this multigenerational standoff. The U.S. is now reliant on a strategic relationship with China to impose greater sanctions on North Korea. For the Trump Administration, the best approach is to defer to the leadership of McMaster, Tillerson, Haley and Mattis to ensure any action taken is fundamentally sound and based on their deep international experience. While North Korea has backed down on its plans to attack Guam, it is important that the situation is continually deescalated to protect our allies (and U.S. troops stationed in) Japan and South Korea. Even still, President Trump’s unpredictable public comments remain of chief concerns, especially with an equally unpredictable dictator in North Korea.”

6. Caleb Wooton, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Economics

“I think it's pretty hard to say that President Trump did not make some mistakes in addressing the events that took place in Charlottesville. The President just should've addressed what the white supremacists did in Charlottesville. It is true that Antifa and other far-left groups were contributing to the violence* in Charlottesville, but the president should've addressed that at a later date.”

*Note: For eyewitness accounts of the violence, visit the LA Times here.

In the coming days, President Trump’s handling of Hurricane Harvey relief will be intensely scrutinized as well as the rest of his performance on both the domestic and international stage.

Lead Image Credit: MSNBC via Youtube

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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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