Fatima Maryam and Abby Melbye
With every new administration, decisions are made and words are spoken that are received differently from citizens on both sides of the political spectrum. Over the first eight months in office, however, it seems as if President Donald J. Trump has had more policies questioned, more people investigated and more inappropriate posts made on social media during his time in office than any of his predecessors.
On January 27, only seven days into his new job, Trump created the travel ban, which barred citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria—including refugees escaping civil war—from entering the United States for 90 days. Widespread protests erupted across the nation, and the ban was soon blocked by the courts for unconstitutional because it discriminated against religious and racial groups.
In August, the president was criticized for his response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a car drove into a crowd of counter protesters, killing three citizens and injuring at least 30 others. Trump originally claimed that there was blame on both sides, but public outrage at his neutral stance prompted him to condemn the white supremacists who organized the event.
The president’s actions over the course of his term, some of which have demonstrated indifference towards discrimination and racism, has many Queens College students worried. Nardos Araya, a senior majoring in Media Studies, is concerned about the impact that the president’s unfiltered attitude has had on the nation. “He’s [ignited] a lot of racist people in the United States. Being open with his discrimination and racism, it has emboldened everyone to be outright,” Araya stated.
While some students feel threatened by what they feel are his xenophobic actions, others are concerned about his ability to get certain policies passed by Congress. When Trump offered his own health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” it failed to receive the 51 votes it needed to be approved by the Senate.
Commenting on the failed replacement, Noah Deane suggested that “Democrats must gain more seats,” for “if Congress stays conservative, or gets more conservative, legislation will not be passed.” In addition to issues taking place on a national level, students also voiced their frustration with the way Trump has been handling international affairs, his repeated threats against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“If Trump does not handle the situation with North Korea, it will likely lead to a disastrous outcome. There have already been signs of nuclear weapon testing and if this continues, we might soon be at war,” Azra Omeragic stated.
Many students are also concerned about their ability to stay in the country. On September 5, Trump announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. The program was created by former President Obama, and cancelling it would put undocumented children at risk for deportation. Eliminating DACA could not only put millions of lives in jeopardy, but would cost thousands of jobs as well. While many of Trump’s initiatives have been blocked or deemed unconstitutional during his eight months of presidency, there have also been questionable actions that have gone unpunished. This has created an environment of anxiety and uncertainty, with people everywhere, including students at Queens College, uncertain about what the future of his Presidency holds.