President Trump’s State of the Union was the main topic for a University of Evansville class Wednesday.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect, because this was his first State of the Union, and it’s Donald Trump,” said Kenny Rusk, UE junior, and active participant in Dr. Robert Dion’s class on media and politics.
Students in the class are currently writing papers on Tuesday night’s speech, and on Wednesday opened up the discussion.
“I think that the state of the union, it’s a lot about pageantry, and I think that when it comes to pageantry, he certainly hit his marks,” sophomore Jessica Lopez said.
Dr. Dion says the class has been studying techniques used by former presidents to convey messages to the public and to the press. The goal of the class is not to debate politics, but to discuss the effectiveness of the techniques President Trump used.
“I mean, I’m sure there are fans, and there are people who are not fans, but they’re all watching it to see what did the president say, how did he say it? Was it effective?” Dr. Dion said. “And I’m not there to get them to go somewhere, I just want them to be thoughtful observers.”
Some students in the class felt the speech lacked in substance.
“The only things he said that were of any real consequence were about Guantanamo Bay, and his mention of the four pillars of his immigration plan,” Rusk said. “I would have liked to have seen more information on how are we gonna do infrastructure, how are we gonna do mental health? How are we gonna do things like that?”
“Maybe more new ideas should have been introduced, so that we might be able to, like make an accurate revision of his year in office so far,” Lopez said.
One topic the president did hit hard on was the importance of unity, but Lopez felt the line “Americans are dreamers too” accomplished the opposite of its intent.
“I think that there was a definite line drawn between what he considers American people, and what the American people actually are,” Lopez said.
“If the goal was to bring people close together and to be bipartisan, I don’t think it achieved that,” Rusk said.
Dr. Dion said whether or not the president’s words do unify will come to a head in about a week when plans for immigration could be the key hang-up for the next potential government shutdown.
(This story was originally published January 31, 2018)