College Republicans president resigns amidst Trump election win

The UConn College Republicans debate the abortion issue during their weekly evening meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Paul DaSilva, the organization's president, is featured on the right of the podium. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The president of the University of Connecticut College Republicans announced his resignation at the organization’s meeting on Tuesday night, following Donald Trump’s election win.  

“I can’t with dignity say I’m the spokesperson for Republicans at UConn anymore,” UConn College Republicans president Paul DaSilva said. “I’m having trouble identifying with the Republican Party as it stands right now.”

DaSilva said he began thinking about resigning as election night began to unfold, and informed the UConn College Republicans executive board the following Saturday evening that he would be leaving the position.

According to DaSilva, the Republican Party has “just been hijacked” by Trump.

“This is borne out by data: Trump was not the first choice of not only Republican members of Congress, but Republican voters across America,” DaSilva said. “He eventually went on to earn 80-something percent of the Republican vote, but if you ask those people, ‘Was he your first choice or even your second choice in the primaries?’ they would’ve said, ‘No.’”

UConn College Republican’s Trump-supporting members deserve to be represented by the organization, DaSilva said.

“The rank and file has been more willing to embrace him,” DaSilva said. “It doesn’t do justice to those individuals to have someone as a leader who’s deeply skeptical of the president-elect, who is the leader of the party right now.”

The organization will soon vote for new executive board members due to DaSilva’s resignation, he said.  

“[My] resignation is technically effective Dec. 6th because we can’t have a vacancy in office,” DaSilva said. “Our constitution…says you have to have two weeks between the announcement and the timing of the election just to give people time to decide whether they want to run or not.”  

The organization’s other executive board members have not resigned, according to DaSilva.

“It’s very likely someone currently on the executive board will run for the president position,” DaSilva said.

DaSilva said he would remain involved with UConn College Republicans after his resignation becomes effective on Dec. 6th.

“I still plan on attending meetings as a regular member,” DaSilva said. “I’ll be advising the new president and the new executive board in an informal way.”

If Hillary Clinton had won the election, DaSilva would not have resigned, he said.

“I felt that she would be a more competent leader to represent America in the world,” DaSilva said.

College Democrats President Megan Handau, a fifth-semester Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Political Science double major offered her comments.

"While I think it's necessary that as many people as possible decry Donald Trump and the bigotry he normalized in his campaign, I think those in the Republican Party need to own up to how they built the foundation for his candidacy,” Handau said. “The rise of Donald Trump is directly linked to the homophobia of Ronald Reagan during the AIDS crisis, to Islamaphobia tolerated in the Bush administration, to the failures of trickle down economics that created an income gap greater than in the Gilded Age, and the perpetration of congressional obstructionism while blaming the pace of government on those outside of their Party. I don't think those who have supported the Republican Party in the past can simply say they leave their Party because they feel Donald Trump doesn't represent them. Donald Trump does represent them, in the most crude way possible. If you feel the need to separate yourself from Donald Trump, you should analyze your Republican ideals and their effects as a whole."

UConn College Republicans will hold its executive board election on Dec. 6.


Alexandra Retter is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at alexandra.retter@uconn.edu.