A majority of Penn College Republicans do not plan to support their party’s nominee: 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump.
“After a polling of our constituency, 60% of Penn Republicans do not support Trump in the election and 40% do as of the start of the school year,” said the group in a statement sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian on Friday afternoon.
When asked if the statement qualified as an official decision to not endorse Trump, College Republicans President and College and Wharton senior Jennifer Knesbach said, because of the mixed feelings of the group, the chapter did not “feel comfortable as a group taking a stance either way.”
The decision comes as a rebuke of sorts to Trump, who has repeatedly propped up his intellectual credibility by referencing his Wharton diploma.
“I went to the Wharton School of Finance,” he said multiple times in a speech in Phoenix, Ariz. last year. “I’m, like, a really smart person.”
But Wharton has not always publicly loved Trump back.
In July, a couple days before Trump formally accepted the party nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, over 3,800 Penn students, graduates, parents, partners and family members signed a petition telling Trump: “You do not represent us.”
“We, proud students, alumni, and faculty of Wharton, are outraged that an affiliation with our school is being used to legitimize prejudice and intolerance,” the letter says. “Although we do not aim to make any political endorsements with this letter, we do express our unequivocal stance against the xenophobia, sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry that you have actively and implicitly endorsed in your campaign.”
Penn’s Republican affiliate also did not go as far as other schools have gone in distancing themselves from Trump.
Chapters at Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University and the University of Connecticut have also chosen not to endorse Trump while Yale University and the University of Notre Dame’s chapters have endorsed the Republican presidential nominee.
Members of Penn College Republicans have previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian and other news outlets about their dissatisfaction with Trump as the Republican nominee.
“I would say at this point in time I am most likely to vote for Hillary Clinton, not because I like her or most of her policy stances, but rather because I truly am fearful of the damage that Donald Trump could wreak upon our country,” said Executive Director of the College Republicans and College senior Matthew Shapiro.
Other College Republican members, such as College sophomore Christian Petrillo, supported the statement as the most "responsible" thing for the group to do.
"I think they honestly did the responsible thing by polling the members of the group to see which way to go with an impossible endorsement," said Petrillo, who intends to vote for Trump.
Though Penn College Republican will not support their party's presidential nominee, the organization plans “to remain active in local elections for the 2016 cycle and to continue to help spread and promote the success of conservative politicians and ideology,” the statement added.
City News Editor Dan Spinelli contributed reporting.
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