Why the Yale College Republicans decided to endorse Trump
After being impersonated on Twitter
Last week, the Harvard Republican Club chose to denounce Donald Trump in a Facebook post which was shared more than 120,000 times.
In the days that followed, the Yale College Republicans, (we’re the co-presidents), received messages and posts on our wall asking us our thoughts on Harvard’s decision and Trump’s campaign.
After talking with the leadership board of our organization, we chose not to release a statement or respond to questions. We understood why Harvard’s group did what it did, and we could relate to the sentiments expressed within its post. We also knew that within our own organization, our members were divided about supporting Trump. We decided to refrain from an outright endorsement or denouncement because we wanted to make sure all Republicans felt welcome in our group, but at the same time ensure that we remain committed to connecting Yale students to all Republican campaigns up and down the ballot.
After a few days, the attention paid to the Harvard Republican Club died down, and everyone went back to ignoring YCR like they normally do. Before this week, we only had 48 likes on our Facebook page and nowhere near the membership level of the much more active Yale Democrats.
Then, Sunday night, someone using our logo designed by one of our members created a Twitter account and posted: “The Yale College Republicans will not be supporting Donald Trump in the fall” and “We believe that Donald Trump does not represent the conservative values of the GOP & he is generally unfit to be POTUS”.
We were unaware of the impersonation until another Yale student posted a screenshot of it to the popular group, Overheard at Yale, at 1am Monday morning. While we slept, the screenshot received hundreds of likes, and gained attention throughout the Yale online community.
At this point, we realized we could not remain silent. Around 8.30 am, we posted a comment to the post explaining that someone was impersonating our group and that the Twitter account was in no way affiliated with Yale College Republicans. Of course, that only fueled the flames with other students immediately questioning whether or not our organization is actually supporting Trump.
We then decided to release the following statement:
Last semester, as our group gathered to watch a Republican presidential debate while eating fried chicken, each individual had his or her own preferred candidate. Some supported Yale alum Ben Carson, conservatives cheered on Ted Cruz, a few supported JEB!–the point is that throughout the primary, the members of our group were split. Now that the primary is over and the convention has been held, our party, of which we are an official branch and to which we remain loyal, has nominated Donald Trump for president.
While not every member of our organization supported Trump in the primary, as an organization and branch of the GOP we support Republicans up and down the ballot. And yes, that includes supporting Donald Trump for president. We remain dedicated to achieving victory in the White House, here in Connecticut, and in our hometowns.
Come November, voters will make their individual choices. We will work from now until Election Day to support our party and welcome any Yale student into our organization who wishes to do the same.
We encourage the members of our organization and all other eligible voters to think carefully about the repercussions of trusting Hillary Clinton with our nation’s secrets and future before making a decision and casting their vote in November.
With this, we attempted to show that as a member of the Connecticut Federation of College Republicans and the College Republican National Committee, we are open to all Republicans on campus and will publicly support our party’s nominees at every level of government. The purpose of our chapter is to connect Yale students to Republican campaigns, host speakers and events which feature Republican officials or ideals, and generally promote our party.
We understand that not every Republican supports Trump, and recent polling numbers have shown that the majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, do not support Trump. We’ve had dozens of Yale students both within our organization and outside of it explain why they refuse to vote for Trump. We respect them and recognize that every voter will make his or her own decision when election day comes in November.
Unlike Harvard’s group, our post did not come after a poll of our members. It was not intended to be taken as a representation of the personal views of our individual members. Instead, our post was to show that on an organizational level, the chapter will continue to show support for the GOP nominee who was chosen at the Republican National Convention.
We have heard the complaints of our members who do not support Trump, and we understand them. Considering the majority of Republican primary voters did not vote for Trump, it is not surprising that people in our organization have chosen not to support him. We have also read the reaction of Yale students and strangers to our statement. Although, admittedly, we have not read them all since there have been so many.
While we have not been surprised that many people do not like Trump nor support his candidacy, we have been surprised as to how much people seem to care about the statement released by one college chapter of the Republican Party. The post which went out on such a small page has now been seen by 100,000 people.
To us, it’s not news that a College Republican chapter would support the GOP presidential nominee. We pretty much thought that our support was assumed, just like how it would be a reasonable assumption to believe the Yale Democrats support Hillary Clinton. Besides, no voters make their decision based on who the Yale College Republicans endorse for the presidential race. We’re just not important or influential, especially considering this is the first presidential election in which many of our members can vote.
One of the biggest criticisms we’ve received in the aftermath of our post is that we do not give any concrete reasons for supporting Trump other than the fact that he is our party’s nominee. We did this purposefully, as we did not want our individual views to be the focus of our statement. On an organizational level, our chapter is not concerned with the personal reasons our co-presidents have for voting for Trump. While we have offered to discuss these views with people, we thought it would be inappropriate to express our personal choices in a Facebook post that is about the organization as a whole. Especially considering that there are many of our members and Republicans across the country who can write a more sophisticated and eloquent explanation for voting for him.
And while all this hoopla has begun to die down, we would like to thank the Yale students who have reached out to us and been nothing but polite and courteous. While we have been on the receiving end of countless negative comments, we are very grateful to the conservatives and liberals alike who wished us good luck in weathering this storm regardless of whether they agree with our endorsement of Trump. This group includes leadership within the Yale Dems who have been nothing but kind and with whom we continue to have a close relationship.
Y’all have proven that intelligent and respectful debate is not dead in this country or on this campus, and that at the end of the day, we can still all agree that Harvard sucks.