Trump, impeachment inquiry divide Detroit Mercy students





Junior Loreal Salter, 20, remembers exactly where she was, what she was doing and who she was doing it with when Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States in 2016.

She recalls that her conservative school had put on a mock election in which she hypothesized that Trump would be the winner.

After school she went over to a close friend’s house where they nervously watched election returns into the late hours of the night.

The friend was black, and she and her family practice Islam.

As the outcome became apparent, “my friend’s whole family was just terrified,” Salter said.

A family that she knew as sweet, loving and hopeful became a whole different family.

So different, in fact, that they ended up moving out of the country, she said.

Loreal, a communications major and a talented photographer, doesn’t know when she will see her friend again.

Trump “is a reflection of this country and where we are now,” Salter said. “As much as people try to deny it, he won for a reason.”

President Trump is in the news every day for something – whether it be one of his outspoken tweets or a new executive action.

Now, he is facing new heat after being accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for information (via telephone) that would damage Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

An anonymous CIA officer reported that the call was made just after Trump denied $3.91 million in aid to Ukraine, leading to suspicions that the president was extorting Zelensky for dirt on Biden.

There is now a large debate about whether this is an impeachable offense. An inquiry is underway in the U.S. House of Representatives.

With the House controlled by Democrats and the Senate controlled by Republicans, impeachment in the House would be unlikely to result in his removal in the Senate, observers say.

Detroit Mercy students seem to be uneasy about this situation.

Senior Sam Smith, who asked that his real name not be used, was born and raised in Grand Rapids, a conservative area.

“I feel like it’s Nixon 2.0,” he said, referring to President Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 when it appeared he would be impeached. “It is un-American what is happening.”

Detroit Mercy students have all kinds of political opinions, especially related to the president.

Of twenty students interviewed for this story, nearly all said they do not believe Donald Trump is a good person.

This belief, however, has nothing to do with how they evaluate him as president.

Many who like what he has accomplished as president didn’t want their names used in this story.

“He’s a good president,” said one freshman. “But I don’t think he’s that great of a person.”

The 18-year-old added that she believes President Trump has done a lot of good economically for the country as well as a lot of good for the people.

Almost all students had something negative about the president.

Freshman Marina Butler of Rochester, New York, is a member of the women’s lacrosse team.

“I feel like he’s very racist, and I just don’t like him,” she said.

Ollie Nigh, a Minnesota native and junior midfielder for the men’s lacrosse team, feels strongly about Trump.

With a straight face, he said, “I’m disgusted by him, honestly.”

He explained that at the time of 2016 election, he was one of the few in his group of friends rooting for Trump.

He finds it ironic now how he hates the fact that he was elected.

Nearly half of the students interviewed either voted for Trump or would have voted for him had they been old enough.

Frosh Bridgid Fox is from Altoona, Pennsylvania.

A new member of the women’s basketball team, she said that because she was raised in a conservative area, she was inclined to root for Trump in 2016.

Her school also held a mock election, and her father is even an AP government teacher at her high school.

She too has changed her thoughts about the president over the years.

“The way he acts and carries himself is just not professional, and not how a president should act,” she said.

Annika Corcoran, her teammate, roommate and die-hard Cleveland Cavaliers, was raised in a totally different political environment.

“He’s not very presidential,” she said. “I think a president is supposed to be much more charismatic, and I don’t think he is a very good leader or example for our country.”

Even Detroit Mercy’s Canadian students have an opinion about the U.S. president.

Matt Vangalen of Orangeville, Ontario, 23, believes that Trump should not be re-elected based on all that he has seen and heard since he’s been in the states.

“Not only should he not be re-elected, but the U.S. president is supposed to be the most ethical person, and this (Ukraine situation) is just showing that he is not ethical,” he said.

Fellow Canadian and women’s lacrosse player Heather Keery, 18, has similar feelings.

“He’s just shady, period,” she said.

Not everyone has a negative image of President Trump, though.

Freshman Zachary Zaborney is majoring in mechanical engineering. He is also a member of the track and field team.

“I like him as a president,” Zaborney said.

Many students admitted that they were not up to date or even interested in politics.

As a result, their political views tended to fall in line with their families’ views. 

Graduate student Eric Davis, 24, from Manchester, Michigan, talked about his experience being raised in very conservative home.

Even though he didn’t know much about either candidate in the 2016 election, he said he would have voted for Donald Trump because all he has ever known was conservative views.

He was indifferent when he found that Trump had been elected.

“Life goes on,” he said. “We are such a small spot on this planet, I knew it wasn’t going to go up in flames. I knew I was going to live a happy life regardless.”

Many students believe that Trump has a good chance to be reelected.

Tecumseh, Michigan, is home for Abbie McDowell, a freshman member of the women’s basketball team.

“No one gave him a chance in 2016, and he did it,” McDowell said. “I think there’s still enough crazy, uneducated people out there to possibly vote for him. People just have to get out there and vote, especially people our age.”

As for the impeachment inquiry in the House, students are divided on it, as well.

Sheldon Clark of Wyandotte is a business major.

Clark said that he thinks an impeachment is necessary if anything illegal was done by the president.

However, if he did not do anything illegal, impeachment is unnecessary because of the potential division it could cause in the country, Clark added.

Clark also said that a lot of the problems the impeachment could create would make the impeachment itself not worth it considering the president’s term is nearing its end and the country will be able to vote on whether he gets a second four-year term.

James Hofmann of St. Clair Shores is a psychology major.

He sees the impeachment inquiry as “a step in the right direction.”

He added, “But I know that nothing much will come of it.”

He expects the House to impeach the president and the Senate to acquit him of the charges.

Despite this, he is happy that the investigation will shine light on what he sees as some of the shady aspects of the Trump administration.

He thinks that the investigation won’t sway any Trump supporters, thought.

Adriana Mirabelli of Port Huron is an English major at Hope College.

Overall, she said she feels indifferent about what happens with the impeachment inquiry due to its later timing in relation to the president’s term.

Mirabelli said that the impeachment process seems unnecessary at this point because the process to do so would probably not even be finished before the next election.

Mirabelli added that she thinks that most people are probably not aware of what he is being impeached for and want him impeached not because of the Ukraine controversy but because they do not like him in general.

Alissa Jacobs of Woodhaven is an architecture major at Detroit Mercy.

“I think the inquiry is totally justified,” she said.

She added that Trump has a history of suspicious activity against anyone who opposes him.

“It certainly says something about him and the GOP that Republicans are too afraid of Trump to call him out for collusion,” she said.

She wishes more Republicans would stand up against him.

Kara Wolfbauer, a communication from St. Clair Shores, said that she has never been a huge fan of the president and wants to see the impeachment inquiry go forward.

“I don’t want somebody so unprofessional representing the country,” Wolfbauer said.

She added that she feels Trump has caused a lot of division.

Going forward she would like to see people of different beliefs be brought together not separated.

Marina Laird of Livonia is an architecture major.

Laird said she is not a Trump supporter, either, but is neutral on the idea of impeachment because she finds it hard to know what is true about Trump, good or bad.

She added that the presence of fake news makes her more hesitant to take a stance on current events.

“It makes it very difficult to construct informed decisions,” said Laird.