The conservative columnist Michael Knowles discussed the "genius" of President Donald Trump in an event held on Penn's campus this Thursday. The 28-year-old Yale graduate, known for his satirical book “Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide,” told students in Huntsman Hall that Trump "has had perhaps the most successful first year of any president."
Referring to Penn as "Trump University," Knowles said one reason to vote for Trump was because “it makes Democrats cry, and their salty, delicious, leftist tears give [him] joy.” He also discussed former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's "deplorable nature."
“She called half of her country irreparable and irredeemable," Knowles said, adding that Clinton was representative of the present state of the Democratic Party. “Hillary’s never been a wonderful candidate or terribly competent on running campaigns or federal agencies."
Knowles, the managing editor of the conservative publication The Daily Wire, also specifically criticized what he described as Clinton's attempts to “gut the first and second amendments” during her campaign.
Knowles was invited by Penn College Republicans and the conservative campus publication The Statesman to discuss “Reasons to Vote for Trump.” Prior to the April 19 event, The Statesman tweeted that posters around campus advertising the discussion with Knowles had been torn down.
College sophomore Dominic Gregorio, an opinion editor at The Statesman, called the event “an absolute, outstanding success."
"It was beyond our greatest expectations," Gregorio said. "It was really thought provoking, it was truth seeking, it was conversational, it was polite, it was fantastic."
At the event, Knowles said to students that he has not always been a Trump supporter, but that Trump's first year in office had alleviated any fears he initially had on election day.
“Immediately my fear subsided, I learned to stop worrying and love the Don," Knowles said to a laughing crowd. “It worked out very, very well."
College junior Christian Petrillo said the talk was “pretty interesting” despite the fact that he wasn’t familiar with Knowles’ work.
“I agree with a lot of things about 2016,” Petrillo said. “I voted for Trump, and was reluctant to do so at first because of a lot of things that were going on, but I think I was happy at the result."
Turning to the 2020 election, Knowles cited Trump's achievements during his first year in office as reasons to support the 1968 Wharton graduate. Among these achievements, Knowles listed deregulation, tax reform, “a decent foreign policy," pulling America out of the "absurd" Paris Climate Accord, and “a wonderful Supreme Court Justice” as some of the many changes that make Trump deserving of a second presidential run in 2020.
He added that while the “hysterical left” cites Trump’s demeanor as something which will “send us careening into World War III and into nuclear holocaust," he believes that Trump's latest discussions with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signal the possibility of peace after 70 years of aggression.
When addressing the negative press surrounding the president, Knowles said that Trump supporters should ignore it and “enjoy the exuberance of this moment."
“What we must do is build our culture and politics back up,” Knowles said. “We have to build on the victory in 2016, we have to build on it in 2018, we have to build on it in 2020, and we must make America great again and again and again and again and again and again."