On Oct. 8, Alex Smith, the national chair of College Republicans, expressed disapproval of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump after Trump deemed his lewd 2005 comments about women as “locker room banter.” While Derek Fake, Vice President of Villanova College Republicans, admits Trump’s personality is not that of a “role model,” Fake nevertheless expresses disappointment with Smith’s public position.
Trump’s comments were captured on video when he was speaking with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. The GOP nominee bragged about attempts to kiss and grope women and discussed his star power as a force that allows him to inappropriately grab women. Since the release of the 2005 video, Trump has apologized “if anyone was offended,” saying the rhetoric was “locker room banter.”
Two weeks ago Smith tweeted, “The Party of Lincoln is not a locker room, and there is no place for people who think it is. Definitely not with her, but not with him.” While she has not indicated she will vote for Secretary Hillary Clinton, Smith tweeted earlier in the summer to congratulate Clinton “for becoming the first College Republican to clinch the Democratic nomination for President.”
Fake acknowledges Trump’s incivility – however he maintains there are more alarming issues to consider in the election.
“Personally, though I think that Trump has a personality that I would not want as a role model for anyone,” Fake says. “That said, no one person is one-hundred percent without virtue, Trump seems to have a spirit for fighting for what he believes in, an uncanny sense of justice and would appear to display his honest positions to the public. As it stands with mounting evidence that Hillary Clinton either has dual political philosophies as revealed from her leaked speeches or mounting evidence that Director Comey botched the investigation into her private servers, that corruption is a greater threat to America’s institutional integrity than a crass businessman.”
In response to Smith’s disavowal of Trump, Fake explores how the leader the of political organization’s public statement complicates the structure of College Republicans.
“I believe it opens the door, for the better or worse, for all College Republican chapters to entertain adopting their own unique positions for an unorthodox candidate,” Fake explains. “I would argue that every candidate requires a weighing of the pros and the cons, and if the moral conscience of Alex Smith’s influences her to no longer support Donald Trump I will not stand in the way of someone deliberating honestly. As a leader of the National College Republicans it is disappointing that she went public with her position, because I believe it lends itself to fomenting division within an organization and could ultimately lead to faction and fracture of a national organization.”
Harvard Republican Club, members of University of Pennsylvania’s Republican organization, Ithaca College Republicans and more have made public statements about their non-endorsements of Trump.
Princeton College Republicans stated they will not be “taking a definitive position on Donald Trump’s candidacy.” According to The Cavalier Daily, the College Republicans at University of Virginia endorsed Trump in a 67-63 vote to back the GOP nominee. Villanova College Republicans are considering endorsement as a topic of conversation at upcoming meetings.
The College Republican National Committee was founded in 1892 and maintains as the nation’s oldest youth political organization. The national committee can be found on over 1,800 college campuses in every state.
According to VU Groups, the mission of Villanova’s College Republicans chapter is to: make known and promote the principles of the Republican Party among members of the Villanova University campus and community, and to aid in the election of Republican candidates at all levels of government.