College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Dr. Mario Guerrero participates in panel featuring local experts debating the success of the Trump administration

Guerrero at the Trump panel

Trump panel fullThis article appears in the April 5, 2018 edition of the Citrus College newspaper, The Clarion

Faculty members from Citrus and other schools nearby gathered for an open panel discussion focused on President Donald Trump’s term in office thus far.

Four panel members delved into President Trump’s controversial personality, but primarily stuck to expressing their varying levels of support for the President’s measures and policies.

“I think a lot of, kind of, the chaos and the circus reality show type of atmosphere that started in the campaign season has curated into the Trump presidency,” Stephen Stambouth, a panel member, and a political science professor at California State University, Fullerton, said. “A lot of what he has done has not helped calm that atmosphere down.”

Although, Stambouth said he tries to “separate the personality from the policies” to achieve objectivity, much like his colleagues on the panel.

Mario Guerrero, another panel member, is a political science professor at Cal Poly Pomona, said Trump is “a terrible president.”

Despite his views of the President’s efficacy, Guerrero also garnered a similar sentiment of objectivity.

“I would say two areas, if I am trying to be nice to Trump, that he’s doing fairly well,” Guerrero said, “and one is foreign policy,” and “the other is his control of media and his ability to shape the narrative.”

President Trump’s connection with the public was scrutinized by panel member Doug Hume, an Azusa Pacific University professor and advisor, who said Trump “blew it” during “moments of opportunity being a guider or a healer.”

Guerrero spoke on a similar note regarding the president. “When those folks that see what (Trump) is doing and appreciate him, he’ll turn around and do something and tweet something that makes them embarrassed,” Guerrero said.

The topic of possible failure and impeachment surfaced in the conversation, in which Milbrandt said the latter “is not a win,” rather, “just a removal from office and never getting elected again for two or four cycles.”

While still on the topic of possible impeachment, Stambouth spoke.

“If I’m the Democrats, I don’t want President Pence,” Stambouth said. “He’s dull…he is not going to drive strong emotions in anybody.”

Later during the discussion, the division of the United States political system was mentioned by Hume. “We have moved away from working together,” he said.

Fliers were distributed to guests of the event with the question “which of these comments do you think you would put on (Trump’s) ‘Presidential Progress Report?’,” followed by a list of 18 options printed below it. Some of which being, “a pleasure to have in charge,” “quality of work has improved recently,” and “poor attitude is affecting performance,” among others.

“Basically, we took the idea of what a progress report looks like when you’re in high school,” David Milbrandt, a Citrus College political science professor and moderator of the discussion, said. “These are ways that we kind of grade or monitor or evaluate students. How would we evaluate the president the same way?”

Students attending the event lingered afterward, discussing the topics of the panel one-on-one with the speakers as well as with other student attendees. Some said events like this one are important for the growth of students at Citrus.

“We don’t really get an outside perspective,” S.J. Tornero, a Citrus College journalism major, said about the importance of panel events like this one. “We pretty much are almost only hearing what’s going on in the news, we’re not actually getting the perspective of the people we’re around as much as we are from the media.”

For students and faculty, the event’s conversation created a space for progress.

“I would encourage students to come out to free events like this more often,” Liz Hartwell, a Citrus College political science major, said, “especially if they want to expand their worldview a little bit, or get a different perspective, or see a different side of things.”

Milbrandt said events like this help people “go beyond our tunnel vision of cable news network” and “to really think broadly about how the president is doing and maybe how he can do it better.”

“That’s why we do this every spring, why we do events every fall as well — to, kind of, continue the dialogue,” Milbrandt said. “That’s always my goal. To see these students really actively take a step up, our professors take a step up, and do things that will be able to impact our communities and hopefully our nation as a whole.”

The event was part of the “Politics is for Everyone” spring forum at Citrus.

Similarly, a Fake News workshop will be held at 2:40 p.m. on April 25 in the LI building at Citrus.