In the turbulent first month of President Donald J. Trump’s tenure, progressives relentlessly rebuked the new administration. But while millions protested, conservatives across the country have quietly celebrated their victory.
The Trump administration went straight to work fulfilling promises to reduce illegal immigration, protect the American people from the threat of terrorism, pick political outsiders for his cabinet and create jobs by promoting trade agreements which benefit the United States.
The administration has drawn harsh criticism for its alleged ties to Russia, conflicts of interest and for appointing a cabinet with a net worth of more than $6 billion — more than the net worth of one-third of the country, Quartz reported.
“I have no ‘Trumpgrets,’” said Dom Sacca, a first-year finance major, who said he voted for Trump in “a spiteful pushback against everything Clinton represented in her campaign.”
While Sacca, 19, said Trump’s potential conflicts of interest and supposed ties to Russia were concerning, he appreciates that the president emphasizes putting “America first.”
First-year political science major Tiffy Boguslawsky agreed that the criticisms of Trump were less important to her than what he plans to do in office.
“I definitely think he has the best interests of the country in mind,” Boguslawsky said.
The child of two Polish refugees, Boguslawsky, 19, is a member of Loyola College Republicans and said she voted for Trump because of his strong stance on immigration, and supports his intention to build a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to deport 3 million undocumented immigrants in the United States who he said have committed crimes. Once he entered office, Trump signed an executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries for at least 90 days. The ban is now suspended in the midst of a legal battle, which Trump has promised to keep fighting.
Boguslawsky said her parents’ experience made her sympathetic to the plight of people fleeing violence, but that she feels national security is more important.
“I am pro-immigrant because my parents are immigrants. I know that immigrants are some of the hardest working people; they’re some of the biggest assets to this country,” Boguslawsky said. “But with ISIS, I think for us to take precautions and ban people from certain countries from coming in at the moment is a good thing.”
Sophomore political science major William Albert agreed, but said he thought the travel ban could have been improved.
“I don’t necessarily agree with the specific countries he’s banned,” Albert said. “I would have excluded Iran because I don’t necessarily think Iranians are as much of a threat, but I would have included Saudi Arabia, because if you look at the history of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest sponsors of radical Islamism.”
Simply adding Saudi Arabia to the list might not fix the problems with the ban, according to Loyola political science professor Tofigh Maboudi.
“No resident of these seven countries has ever done any terrorist attack against the [United States],” Maboudi said. “The ban talked about the 9/11 attacks, which is a good example, but Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates — citizens of these countries were the hijackers. None of these countries were in the ban.”
Maboudi also said perpetrators of recent attacks in Europe were from North African countries such as Algeria and Tunisia, which were not included in the ban.
“The ban is impacting, for example, countries like Iran and Iraq that send more students than people with extreme ideas,” Maboudi said.
Albert, 20, also a member of Loyola College Republicans, said he opposes almost all immigration and would reduce the total number of immigrants allowed into the United States to less than 5,000 people per year.
Like many who voted for Trump, sophomore economics major Christian Geoppo and vice president of Loyola College Republicans said he wants to see international trade deals reworked to benefit the United States and hopes agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are renegotiated.
“The United States used to be the premier manufacturing country in the world, but after signing NAFTA, several corporations began moving over to Mexico and Canada,” Geoppo said. “I would like to see bilateral agreements because multilateral agreements are generally very complex … and if the agreement isn’t working out the United States can’t really affect it because the other countries involved can override it.”
That sentiment resonated with senior psychology major Randy Dahdouh, who said he hopes Trump will create new jobs.
“So many of our problems are economically rooted,” Dahdouh said. “If he can bring back jobs … maybe at least liberals can give him credit for that.”
Dahdouh, 22, often wears the iconic red hat worn by many of Trump’s supporters around campus. He said he feels unsafe expressing his political beliefs at Loyola, and said conservatives are “the new oppressed group.”
“At least don’t call him Hitler,” Dahdouh said. “He doesn’t want to kill Jews, he doesn’t want to kill black people.”
Albert agreed his political stances put him at odds with his fellow students.
“I’m not going to shy away if you ask me what my views are, I’ll be upfront and tell you,” Albert said. “But I’m not going to go out of my way to make myself a target.”
Sacca also said he felt targeted because he supports Trump.
“I can say that I’m afraid of being lynched if I walk out on the Lake Shore Campus,” Sacca said. “I might get some very mean words.”
Dahdouh said he thinks those who oppose Trump need to be more accepting, or else they might drive even more people to support Trump.
“I know it affects our lives,” Dahdouh said. “But we have to live together, so why should I have to hate you? A Trump supporter might say ‘I like Trump,’ but then hear from the media ‘you’re all these bad things,’ and now I’m silenced, and I’m going to vote for Trump, I don’t even care any more. I’m voting out of anger.”
Geoppo also said it was difficult to express his opinions on campus.
“[My views] are not accepted,” Geoppo said. “I do try to keep a low profile, like if I’m in class and people are talking about certain events that I disagree with, I try to hold my tongue because I value friendships more than politics. Politics shouldn’t harm a friendship.”