Republican Student Union’s support of Donald Trump sparks controversy

The Republican Student Union experienced a third day of protest on Tuesday against their support of Donald Trump for president, following two consecutive days of conflict before spring break.

Student protesters played the song “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” by YG on loudspeakers in Malcolm X Plaza Tuesday afternoon. The song was played repeatedly in response to the RSU table donned with Trump paraphernalia and numerous photographs of Trump himself. A larger sign saying “Trump” covered the sign saying “Republican Student Union” at the table.

The first day of protesting resulted in police presence. John Ayoub, president of the RSU, said on March 15 around 50-60 people surrounded them, blocking their “Donald Trump for President” sign.

“I was surprised and disappointed that they tried to block my freedom of expression,” Ayoub said. 

Staff member Muata Kenyatta (left) and student Ben Fontes stop by the Young Republicans table to share their concerns with the group at Malcolm X Plaza Tuesday, April. 5. (Ryan Zaragoza / Xpress)

Staff member Muata Kenyatta (left) and student Ben Fontes stop by the Young Republicans table to share their concerns with the group at Malcolm X Plaza Tuesday, April. 5. (Ryan Zaragoza / Xpress)

The second incident took place the day after, during the Ethnic Studies rally on March 16. Several people confronted the organization with crude remarks during the rally, according to Liza Remmer, who works for the Promoting Achievement Through Higher Education program at SF State and was representing the RSU in the Malcolm X Plaza that day.

“We had permission to be out there,” Remmer said. “This kind of thing is what makes young Republicans feel like they don’t have a voice.”

Remmer is one of the few members of the organization who doesn’t support Trump. She supports John Kasich for president.

Ayoub himself supported Ben Carson’s candidacy until he withdrew from the race. He now supports Trump because he likes how, just like Carson, Trump is not part of mainstream politics.

Many students approached the RSU to talk to them about why they supported Trump. One of these students was Edgar Alvarez, a fourth-year psychology major at SF State. Alvarez was also present during the March 15 conflict. That day, he didn’t agree with the protesters’ approach, describing it as counterproductive.

“We’re going to school here to learn more and to be educated, and at the same time we’re still yelling obscenities,” Alvarez said. “They do have the right to be here and they do have the right to their opinion as well as we do.”

Raysean Jones, a first-year civil engineering major, was also having a conversation with the RSU. He agreed with Alvarez about negative protesting.

“It promotes the same message that we’re trying to fight,” Jones said. “It’s hateful messaging that I feel like Donald Trump is pushing, so I’m not gonna push my opinion on them.”

The College Democrats at SF State were present on the first two days when the RSU was tabling.

“Although we acknowledge that freedom of speech is a right, we believe that hate and racism is not something that we should promote on campus,” said Adam Rey, political director for the SF State College Democrats.

Trump’s stance on immigration is one of the main reasons Ayoub supports his candidacy for president, although he immigrated to the United States 20 years ago from Egypt.

As a legal immigrant, Ayoub said he had to follow the rules to come to the U.S. He thinks there are a lot of opportunities for people to come to the country legally and doesn’t support them doing it illegally. His strong stance against illegal immigration and his status as an immigrant himself causes a lot of people to question his support of Trump, Ayoub said. “You don’t have to agree with someone 100 percent of the time to support them,” Ayoub said.

SF State freshman Raysean Jones (right) shares his political concerns with John Ayoub (left) at Malcolm X Plaza on Tuesday, April. 5. (Ryan Zaragoza / Xpress)

SF State freshman Raysean Jones (right) shares his political concerns with John Ayoub (left) at Malcolm X Plaza on Tuesday, April. 5. (Ryan Zaragoza / Xpress)

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  • I wonder if Republican students try to protest the Democrat student functions. :@