Outgoing board member of the University of Connecticut Chapter of the College Republicans Joe Gatti talked civil discourse, politics in the Trump era and mistakes made surrounding the night of Lucian Wintrich’s arrest in an interview with the Daily Campus.
Gatti said the protestors and arrest of Wintrich resulted from a lack of experience and planning on the board of the College Republicans.
“That whole thing, we were really over our heads,” Gatti said. “Security didn’t really work well with us. Nobody should have been able to get that close to the speaker. There were definitely lessons learned from the incident.”
Gatti said he understood Wintrich is a “controversial figure” and believes the College Republicans should have prevented people from having access to him or the stage through heightened security measures.
“There was a guy in red who got on stage who was not part of Lucian’s entourage,” Gatti said. “That guy just got on stage. He should have not been able to get on stage. The lady who took his speech should not have been able to take his speech.”
The “guy in red” was later revealed to be Salvatore Cipolla, an employee of the conservative men’s publication “Proud Boys.” The woman who took Wintrich’s speech was ultimately identified as Quinebaug Valley Community College adviser Catherine Gregory, who later turned herself in to UCPD.
Gatti went on to say he feels people who act out against the College Republicans must better understand how to have a conversation about opposing views.
“People who think that the College Republicans are out to cause chaos and spark controversy are the same type of people who attacked me in a dining hall last year and also the same people who were yelling and screaming, preventing me from going to class,” Gatti said. “If people are able to have these types of discussions and just talk to each other, that’s a different story. The moment someone sees someone else as the enemy and not as someone with an opposing view, there’s really no discussion.”
Gatti added that the current membership of the College Republicans has become more “pro-Trump” than it has been in past years.
“I would definitely say as much as millennials are typically liberal, millennial Republicans are typically pretty pro-Trump,” Gatti said. “So as more newer Republicans come into the school, the club kind of went from being a never-Trump kind of club to being a more pro-Trump club.”
Gatti addressed the reason behind the decision for the College Republicans not to endorse Trump during the 2016 presidential election, citing former President Paul DaSilva’s personal biases.
“The thing with 2016, the president at the time Paul DaSilva, I think when he decided not to endorse Trump, that was more of a selfish thing on his end to go out and say that he was not for Trump,” Gatti said. “When I was in the club at the time, I was still getting an idea that the club was pretty split on that issue.”
Gatti said if the current ideologies of the College Republicans membership remain, the club will take a “pro-Trump” stance in the next presidential election.
“I definitely see in 2020 that the club would endorse Trump, but I’ll be honest, clubs can change in a year and this club became a lot more active this year than it was the year before,” Gatti said. “I have no idea what the future holds, but if this year is anyway telling, I would say yes, the club would probably endorse Trump in 2020.”
Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.