Protest organizers want more than Donald Trump Jr.’s speech at UF to be canceled.
They also want the UF Student Body president to resign.
Organizers of the #CHOMPTRUMP protest, which is against Trump Jr. and senior campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle’s speaking event at the University Auditorium Thursday, are calling for apologies and the resignations of ACCENT Speakers Bureau Chair Henry Fair, Student Body President Michael Murphy and Student Body Treasurer Santiago Gutierrez. The organizers are alleging conflicts of interest related to Murphy’s father’s ties to the Trump administration and misuse of funds, said protest spokesperson Jovanna Liuzzo.
“We want this canceled because racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and discrimination of literally any kind is not valued on our campus,” Liuzzo said.
Dan Murphy, Michael Murphy’s father, was a lobbyist for UF until about a year ago, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando. Dan Murphy is a BGR Group lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He maxed out donations to President Donald Trump’s campaign at $5,600 before going to an Orlando fundraising event. In August, he was seen talking to Trump Jr. in Washington, according to a report by Politico.
Michael Murphy didn’t answer questions related to his father’s involvement with the Trump campaign, nor with Trump Jr. He said there is “no conflict of interest.”
He wrote that UF Student Government invited Trump Jr., who is the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders to speak on campus on Sept. 20. However, he said Sanders’ Chief of Staff, Caryn Compton, declined. The Alligator requested emails confirming that Trump Jr. and Sanders were contacted by SG. Michael Murphy did not provide the emails.
Fair initially responded to The Alligator by text message. However, he did not respond to questions sent by email, text or phone call.
ACCENT, which is an SG organization, will pay the speakers a joint payment of $50,000, according to a contract. Each semester, $19.06 per credit hour comes from each student’s tuition to SG, which funds ACCENT. Fair did not answer questions as to how the payment will be split between Trump and Guilfoyle.
Guiterrez wrote in an email that the $50,000 allocated for the speech doesn’t break state statute or SG’s 800 codes, which include financial rules SG must abide by. He wrote that demands for his resignation are unwarranted because he fulfilled his duties as treasurer.
“If it does not break any of the limits of the 800 Codes, my office cannot arbitrarily deny a request on the basis of personal sentiment,” he wrote.
Trump Jr. has been surrounded by controversy before. He previously liked tweets promoting conspiracy theories about Parkland shooting survivors being actors and tweeted that Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is not “an American Black.”
Liuzzo said Trump Jr.’s rhetoric is “inflammatory” and belittles minority communities on campus. The protest organizers want the event to be canceled to preserve student safety.
The students created the protest to happen at the same time as the speech, which starts at 7 p.m.
The #CHOMPTRUMP protest organizers will be holding a press conference Oct. 8 on Plaza of the Americas at noon.
Correction: The article was updated to reflect that the correct price that comes out of student's tuition is $19.06 per credit hour. The Alligator previously reported differently.
Members of U.S. President Donald Trump's family and others listen to him speak during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. From right to left, Tiffany Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and Lara Trump. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)