As of yet, no official group of Princeton students backs Trump. A petition circulated earlier this month urging the Princeton Board of Trustees to denounce Governor Chris Christie for his support of Donald Trump. All in all, Trump doesn’t seem to be contending for the Princeton vote. This might not come as a surprise considering Trump isn’t exactly known for his popularity with millennials.
Still, I wondered at Trump’s support on campus. There must be some students in support of the likely republican nominee. I went to investigate.
Transcribed bellow is my interview with sophomore Mitchel Sweigart on why he’ll support Trump, and what’s it like to be a Trump supporter at Princeton.
PC: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons
What is it like to be a Trump supporter and conservative on campus?
It definitely feels like you’re the minority and you’re attacked by people without conservative opinions. I feel like that’s the consensus among other republicans that I know.
Do you know a lot of other Trump supporters on campus?
Yes I do, and a lot of conservatives in general on campus. As the field is getting narrowed down there’s a lot of people who supported other candidates and now are changing because they’ve dropped out.
Did you support Trump from the beginning?
I supported Ben Carson before.
What qualities do you think would make Trump a good president?
I think the qualities that really make him stand out are qualities that the other candidates have. So he’s not a politician, he’s a good businessman, and I like the support that’s behind him. So this morning Ben Carson just endorsed him as well as governor Chris Christie (I was a big supporter of [Chris Christie’s] a year or two ago).
What parts of Trump’s message resonate with you?
Well, there’s definitely some controversial parts, but I think what he’s doing now is to get the extreme far right people in the base. I don’t think that’s his true position, if he gets the nomination he’ll definitely lean more to the middle. So I’m anticipating that, but I also like his no-nonsense approach, while it is controversial, he does say what a lot of people do think, it’s just something that a lot of people don’t say.
What makes you think he’ll become more moderate later?
Well, you can’t win an election the way he’s doing it now. And that’s really a trend, if you look at any election candidates start really far out and then they work their way to the middle, in the general election.
What are some of his policies that you support in particular?
If he doesn’t win the republican nomination, would you support another candidate?
Yeah, I’d support anyone who gets the nomination.
As you were saying earlier, Trump has made a lot of controversial statements. What was your reaction to his statement that he would ban Muslims from entering the U.S.?
I don’t agree with that, that’s one of the points I was thinking of that was extreme. And people don’t understand that the president can’t just do that by himself, he needs Congress, so you have to believe that there’s people that are still going to vote the right way, even if he was not to become more moderate in his views. If he became president or got the nomination, you still know that there’s people in Congress that won’t allow these proposals to go through.
What is your position on Trump’s approach to immigration reform and his proposal to put up a wall on the border of Mexico?
I think all immigrants should come here legally, and I’d like to see more of that happen, whether it’s an easier path to citizenship, so I don’t support illegal immigration.
Trump made a controversial comment on Mexican immigrants last June, stating, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re bringing rapists.” What was your reaction to this statement?
I do think we need to secure our borders better, because we don’t know who’s coming here, whether it’s Canadians, Mexicans or people from other places in the world. And specifically to that comment, I think we should secure our borders and work with the Mexican government to see who is really coming into our country, whether it’s legal or illegal immigrants.
Trump got a lot of criticism for not immediately disavowing KKK leader David Duke, when Duke spoke in support of Trump. What was your reaction to that?
I don’t really know a lot about that situation so I can’t comment.
What do you think about the rise in moderate republicans renouncing Trump—specifically, Mitt Romney’s recent speech calling Trump a “phony and a fraud”?
I think there’s a lot of lenses to look at Trump and he’s very controversial, so he’s bound to have some people dislike him, but I think overall he’s truly trying to become president and will stick it out until the end, so he’s not a phony or a fraud.