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Feb 01 2017
by Karly Matthews

9 College Conservatives React to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates' Termination

By Karly Matthews - Feb 01 2017

On Monday night, the Trump administration announced that acting Attorney General Sally Yates was relieved of her duties following her refusal to enforce President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Immediately, there was an outcry that President Trump terminates everyone who disagreed with him, but some college conservatives saw the incident in a different light. Fresh U caught up with nine conservative students from across the nation to see how they responded to this executive action. Their responses are as follows:

Corrie Faith Lee – Campbell University, Trust & Wealth Management & Pre Law

“Since Ms. Yates was an Obama Administration appointee I wasn't surprised. When all is said and done she was not willing to do the job she was hired to do, and like with any position, she was relieved from her duties. In the 'real world' if you publicly defy your boss, you'll be fired. How much more so in a position in which you are asked to defend the United States and our leaders, but refuse to do so? Her acts were more than a simple refusal to perform, but a public political stance against our President for likely personal reasons, though I won't speculate. Additionally, she instructed others to stop doing the jobs they were hired to do, thus creating more issues. She knew the position she was hired for, and if she was unwilling to perform then she should have relieved herself, or have expected to be replaced. The job Ms. Yates was asked to do was especially trying, I'm sure, but as a matter of public defense and unity I believe it was the right call to release her.”

Seth Schorr – Arizona State University, Political Science

“Her move to deny Trump was likely political in motivation as opposed to the validity of law. She denied when the executive orders were reviewed by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, so those are her best lawyers government-wise. Thus she must enforce it as Attorney General and execute and enforce the law or simply just quit rather than refuse to enforce the law. Not enforcing the order is political, for publicity perhaps, I don’t know. Good move to fire her.”

Calli Norton – West Virginia State University, Communications

“As the acting Attorney General to the United States, Sally Yates had the duty to defend the law, which includes executive orders. Yesterday, Yates stood on her personal convictions rather than the law she is charged to uphold. In my opinion, this was a clear choice to defy the law to make a statement. I believe removing her from the administration was the best choice moving forward.”

Marc Maling – Temple University, Political Science & Global Studies with Security Track

“I do not agree with President Trump firing a high-ranking official whom would not support his executive order. The acting Attorney General has the authority to decided what they will defend in court (criminal or civil) as the legal advisor of the US government, by doing what their expertise says is legally best for the country, as per the constitution. Although her duty was to fight on behalf on the US, her duty also is to provide legal advice to the DOJ and the she had a right to instruct her department not to support this EO. This is not a job where you should fall into political pressure, this is purely professional and she felt as if the EO was unconstitutional and should not be defended in court, she was in line with her reaction. This country is based on difference of opinion and her interpretation leading to her dismissal is highly questionable as to if this country will defend the First Amendment in a governmental aspect.”

Annie Tohill – Regent University, Animation

“While I personally respect Yates for not enforcing the ban, I do believe that Trump was within his rights to fire her. However, the letter he sent was... unnecessarily angry and salty about her role in the Obama administration. Definitely bad form. Especially since she received the news two minutes before the press.”

Will Fern – Millersville University, Robotics and Control Systems

“People always seem to forget that in the constitution it states that Congress may decide who enters the country or not nobody has a right to enter the country, and that's what Sally Yates was claiming that this ban might be illegal. So Trump has a reason to do so even if it may have been a bit rash.”

Valente Montes – College of the Canyons, Political Science Major

“It is disgraceful that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates chose to defy President Trump on an executive order that the U.S. Justice Department under her jurisdiction had already deemed complacent with the law. Going forward, those serving in top posts within the Trump administration should resign their post should they have major disagreements on actions taken by the Trump administration. My hope is that the U.S. Justice Department will return to being an institution of integrity that enforces the laws of this country rather than choosing to politicize issues of national security as was often done under the Obama administration.”

Jessica Field – Duquesne University, Political Science

“Yates created more harm than good by not defending the executive order. Her actions were unprofessional and she chose to create conflict instead of resigning and voicing her concerns respectfully as a citizen. Trump's cabinet picks are being delayed by the Democrats and Yates ultimately betrayed the Department of Justice, so I feel as though Trump had every right to do what he did and I stand behind his decision 100%.”

Nathaniel Bass – Texas A&M University, Telecommunication Major

“My initial reaction to the firing was one of disappointment in our current political system. This is just the most recent manifestation of the fractured system. I felt that had the senate confirmation hearings progressed in a more timely manner this wouldn't have been an issue. I think it shows that people in both parties, the President included, need to strive to serve their citizens rather than party officials.”

Regardless of how President Trump’s actions were received, he certainly sent a message to both members of his own party as well as his opposition. 

Lead Image Credit: CNN

Editor's Note: Some quotes have been slightly edited for clarity. 
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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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