The University of Connecticut College Republicans called Donald Trump “mentally unstable” and announced they would not support him in an executive board statement posted to the group’s Facebook page on Monday.
The statement harshly criticizes Trump’s political stances and his personality, ultimately concluding that Trump’s campaign has not lived up to the conservative principles of the UConn College Republicans.
“Someone who employs divisive, outright bigoted rhetoric, and who pits Americans against each other in an effort to scare voters into embracing his candidacy is not worthy of our support,” the statement reads. “Based on his rhetoric and his stances on public policy, he would guide the United States in a direction astray from constitutional, limited government and toward a direction defined by ugly nationalism and authoritarianism.”
The statement said Trump was often “incoherent” in explaining his policies, and criticized his proposals to raise tariffs, potentially back out on NATO and to build a giant wall along the Mexican border.
The five members of the organization’s executive board unanimously agreed not to endorse Trump, UConn College Republicans president Paul DaSilva said.
DaSilva and club secretary Zak Quamme wrote the statement, and then the executive board approved it on Sunday, DaSilva said.
DaSilva said he got the sense that most of the organization did not support Trump after conversations with the all of its members at the end of last May.
“It seemed to me that an overwhelming majority of the CRs (College Republicans) didn’t support Trump,” DaSilva said.
DaSilva noted that Trump has been divisive among Republicans nationwide, and particularly with chapters of the College Republicans.
“There’s been a lot of noise and publicity that has been given to the way that the party has just kind of come apart this election,” DaSilva said. “Different College Republican groups across the country, some have decided to endorse him, some have decided not to endorse him.”
Politico’s Tyler Pager published an article Saturday exploring the controversy faced by the Penn. State chapter’s president after that group chose not to endorse Trump.
The Harvard Crimson reports their university’s chapter also chose not to endorse Trump.
Yale’s chapter of the College Republicans split in two after their president chose to endorse Trump, the Yale Daily News reports. Executive board members resigned, criticized the club’s decision and formed a competing group, the Yale New Republicans.
DaSilva said Trump does not necessarily speak for all Republicans.
“There are fringe communities online that have kind of broken away from conservatism, and they call themselves the ‘alt-right’: the alternate right,” DaSilva said. “They take a much more populist, an ugly populist, view of things and their ideology is not the Reaganesque or Bush-era conservatism that I believe, and that the executive board believes is the proper direction for the Republican party to take.”
DaSilva said that Trump has “struck a cord” with many on the left and right, but argued that he only won pluralities in most primary states.
“He still only won with about 30 to 40 percent of Republican primary voters, and the majority of Republican primary voters voted for someone else,” DaSilva said. “Maybe more have now come around and accepted that he is the nominee, but he wasn’t a hugely popular candidate in the way that Mitt Romney or John McCain was, who could fully unite and coalesce the party.”
When asked if he thought Hillary Clinton was a better choice than Trump for president, DaSilva declined to comment.
“We’re not going to support Hillary Clinton, and we’re not going to support Donald Trump,” DaSilva said.
DaSilva said the group’s focus will now turn to supporting state and local Republican candidates, such as state House candidate Mark Sargent.
DaSilva said the statement has already received plenty of comments, both negative and positive.
“There’s obviously been some dissent on the post, and that largely has come from the elderly community of Storrs-Mansfield that follow us on Facebook,” DaSilva said. “And tomorrow we have a meeting at 8 where Trump supporters will be more than welcome to come and to continue remaining a member of the club, and to share their perspectives on whatever issues and topics we’re discussing on that day.”
This semester the UConn College Republicans hold their meetings every Tuesday at 8 in the Information Technologies Engineering Building (ITE) Room 335.
Chris McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.