The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Donald Trump Jr. confuses students with disorganized speech and conspiracies

The former president’s son slammed the Biden administration and defended the events of Jan. 6
Luke Fountain
Donald Trump Jr. slams the Biden administration and calls for support for his father’s presidential campaign.

Donald Trump Jr. peddled various conspiracy theories, attacked the Biden family and made the case for another Trump presidency during his speech on Saturday.

Many students, on both the left and right, felt that the speech lacked cohesion and was out of touch with most voters.

“My jaw dropped open for most of the speech,” Allison Hidalgo, ’25, said. “I am a conservative and vote conservative, but a lot of things he was saying I cannot believe he said in public on stage, especially if he wants to ever run for office.”

“I came in expecting not to agree with most of what Trump Jr. was going to say, but was prepared to listen and hopefully learn something,” Catherine McCurdy, ’24, said. “His speech did not inform me better about politics like the speeches from Pompeo or Miller did, even though I did not agree with their policies. All Trump Jr.’s speech did was spread lies and hateful rhetoric.”

Some political experts say Trump Jr., the son of the former president, could be a potential presidential candidate in 2028 or in 2024 if the former president is taken off the ballot by the Supreme Court.

Many students told the Phi that Trump Jr.’s comments about the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and the Black Lives Matter protests were shocking.

Trump Jr. said Jan. 6 protesters were peaceful and were unfairly targeted. Those “who were taking selfies or simply shook a fence” were put in jail “for 17 or 18 years without due process,” he said.

“No one believes that January 6th was an insurrection,” Trump Jr. said. “If it was an insurrection, then it would be literally the first unarmed attack in the history of the world.”

But according to CNN, the Jan. 6 rioters were armed and violently clashed with law enforcement. At least seven people lost their lives in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, according to a bipartisan Senate report.

McCurdy said Trump Jr.’s comments about Jan. 6 were dangerous.

“What he said about the insurrection was a lie,” McCurdy said. “We literally have a video of it all. It was armed and people were calling to hang Mike Pence and murder Nancy Pelosi. To stand there and act like that didn’t happen is a dangerous rewriting of history.”

Trump Jr. also said that people who protested Geroge Floyd’s murder in 2020 were not prosecuted for crimes like murder, arson and theft.

According to those on the left, “stealing a Gucci purse is not theft… I guess it’s reparations or something like that,” Trump said.

The Associated Press disproved this claim in 2021. The AP found that “dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison” following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, and the treatment of Jan. 6 protesters has not been unequal.

Students said they were also alarmed by comments Trump Jr. made about LGBTQ+ rights.

At one point during the speech, Trump Jr., called transgender swimmer Lia Thomas “it.”

Trump Jr. also falsely claimed that “there are states where Democrats are legitimately voting 100% to make sure that a 3 or 4 year-old can go and have gender reassignment surgery. They can chop off body parts without parental consent.”

The AP found in 2023 that “toddlers can’t get gender-affirming surgeries, despite claims.” Medical experts say that “children as young as 3 are not qualified to undergo operations to change their gender.”

“Calling people transgender terrorists and saying they are the biggest threat to this country is not true and appalling,” McCurdy said. “He is just saying a lot of buzzwords and big words to make people angry.”

But other students said that they agreed with Trump’s attacks on President Joe Biden’s mental fitness.

“Biden is too old and mentally unfit to run this country,” Trump  Jr. said. “The fact that this man has access to nuclear football scares me. The guy is like a Roomba, bumping into things and going around looking to shake people’s hands that aren’t even around him.”

“I thought the comments about a Roomba were hilarious,” Hidalgo said. “The guy is old and doesn’t seem to be with it all the time.”

Even though Hidalgo agreed with some of Trump’s speech, she thought it was disorganized.

“I felt lost listening to the speech,” Hidalgo said. “He would make a point and then pivot and talk about something else completely unrelated.”

Other students agreed.

“I thought it was all over the place, to be honest,” Jud Cummings, ’25, said. “He made some good points here and there but he could not focus on one thing at a time. As a conservative, I agree with many of his criticisms but speaking about Hunter Biden and then COVID and then Trump never really seemed to tie together.”

Despite the criticisms of Trump Jr.’s speech, Cummings and Hidalgo both agreed that he did advocate strongly for a second Trump presidency.

“I thought his points about Trump being able to broker peace in the Middle East was really convincing,” Cummings said. “Trump Jr. mentioned the Abraham Accords and standing with Israel and it’s something Biden can’t seem to figure out at all.”

“[Trump Jr.’s] message about ending endless wars and putting America first is true,” Hidalgo said. “Trump Jr. made a compelling case that Trump would reign in unnecessary spending and put America back on track.”

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