In 2016, President Donald Trump promised America he would “drain the Swamp.” In 2019, his son will speak at it.
The ACCENT Speakers Bureau announced on Tuesday that Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle will give a keynote presentation at UF’s University Auditorium on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.
They will be paid $50,000, funded by student activity fees, according to the contract with UF. It is unclear how the payment will be split between them.
Students can get tickets Tuesday with a valid Gator 1 ID. The general public can get remaining tickets at 5 p.m. the day of the event. The auditorium seats more than 800.
Trump Jr. is the executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Guilfoyle, senior adviser to the president’s re-election campaign, previously served as co-host of Fox News Channel's “The Five,” which she left in July 2018after allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct.
The ACCENT Speakers Bureau, run by UF Student Government, announced the event on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.
ACCENT Speaker Bureau Chair Henry Fair, a 21-year-old UF political science senior, wrote in an email to The Alligator that the organization is excited to have speakers provide an opportunity for students to engage in civil discourse.
“Part of our mission is to engage the UF campus community in discussions on important issues by bringing prominent, influential and, often times, controversial speakers to campus,” Fair wrote.
Jarrod Rodriguez, UF College Republicans treasurer, said he’s looking forward to having Trump Jr. in the Swamp. Rodriguez, a 20-year-old political science junior, has supported the president and his family since 2016.
“I personally admire just how much of a fierce supporter he is, an advocate he is, of the president,” Rodriguez said.
A few hours after the speakers were announced, William Zelin created a Facebook event to protest the speakers. The 21-year-old UF political science and statistics senior first heard about the event in a group chat. He said he thought it was a joke.
“What expertise does he have other than growing up with a spoon in his with a silver spoon in his mouth? And, you know, doing whatever daddy tells him?” Zelin said.
After multicultural organizations suffered a lack of funding over the summer, Zelin said inviting Trump Jr. was a slap in the face considering his family’s “hateful rhetoric.”
“In my opinion, to say that Student Government is going to spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars on a speaker who enabled… one of the most bigoted presidents in the modern history… and allow our student fees to be going toward that while all these student organizations are facing a crisis… it’s just not fair,” Zelin said.
Abby Solomon, a 2016 UF biology alumna, said she supports students protesting the use of student funds to bring the two “controversial” speakers to campus. Solomon, ACCENT’s former vice chair of programming, said she doesn’t think the event will hold Trump Jr. accountable.
“I feel like that is really lowering the bar of the caliber of people that we should be inviting,” Solomon said.
The Trump family, front row, and his staff listen as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses 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, and Jared Kushner. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer, AP News