Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, President Donald J. Trump has signed nearly two dozen executive orders and Presidential memoranda — tackling everything from “minimizing the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to restricting immigration from seven nations with predominantly Muslim populations. His most recent order, issued on Feb. 3, took aim at financial regulations and committee establishment imposed by the Obama administration under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
While many have expressed outrage regarding the President’s early actions, with millions engaging in protests both in-person and on social media, some are optimistic about the course the new administration has charted.
This optimism isn’t localized to officials in the White House. Among some of the campus’ loudest dissenters are students who are excited to see what changes a new administration may bring after eight years of political frustration.
“At the start of every presidential administration, many executive orders are made that people may not necessarily agree with. It is great to see the President start the process of repealing and finding a suitable replacement for the Affordable Care Act,” Andrew Mahaleris, Director of Communications for the UMaine College Republicans, said on the organization’s behalf. “The UMaine College Republicans are a diverse group of students who come from all different walks of life, but are all connected by the same core principles of freedom, equality, inclusiveness and liberty.”
But for others, President Trump’s first two weeks have been turbulent and terrifying. Particularly for students caught in the White House’s controversial immigration order.
“I personally think it’s unconstitutional and disgusting that he has barred so many people from entering this country even legally. The complete overreach being done is terrifying,” fourth-year Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) student Kirsten Daley said. Daley is involved in a myriad of groups on campus, from the Student Women’s Association (SWA) to the Student Alliance for Sexual Health (SASH). She is also the current president of the Black Student Union (BSU).
“…we can no longer fight in the ways we are used to, we are now fighting someone who not only does not know anything about how to govern but does not care about how to do so. We have to learn how to fight all over again and I’m terrified that the learning curve will allow him to really hurt a lot of people,” Daley continued.
For Democrats, who suffered defeat in both houses of Congress as well as the White House in the 2016 election cycle, the frustration is already mounting.
For President of the Maine College Democrats Brody Haverly-Johndro, Trump’s alleged overreach is only part of the problem.
Haverly-Johndro, also president of the Class of 2019, also takes issue with Trump’s exclusionary political messaging.
“President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration is wrong and unconstitutional. He has barred Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Not only does this Executive Order [sic] go against all that our nation stands for, it threatens the very foundation of our democracy and of our country,” he said in an e-mail.
Haverly-Johndro is further concerned about the rhetoric painting the United States as anything less than what he already sees it as — “the greatest country on Earth.”
“The United States of America is the symbol of hope, promise, and the pursuit of happiness known around the world,” Haverly-Johndro said. “Mr [sic] Trump’s actions in this Executive Order and others that he has issued in the last week do not reflect the principles that the majority of Americans stand for. We are in [sic] inclusive, diverse, welcoming country and I refuse to let President Trump tear the lives of so many apart. We will not build walls or ban groups of people based on their religion.”