Confronting protesters and talking politics: Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle speak at UF

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Donald Trump Jr. speaks to a crowd of more than 800 people Thursday evening. Trump’s speech was met with a mixture of cheers and boos.

Donald Trump Jr. tried to address a crowd of more than 800 people at UF on Thursday evening. 

Instead, he found himself bickering with protesters in the audience. 

UF ACCENT Speakers Bureau hosted Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle — his girlfriend and a senior adviser on President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign — in a keynote presentation on Thursday night  at the University Auditorium.

ACCENT paid both speakers a total of $50,000, which comes from $19.06 per credit hour students pay each semester. 

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Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior adviser to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, speaks Thursday evening in University Auditorium. Guilfoyle spoke about her upbringing, her relationship with the Trump family and her political philosophy.

 

ACCENT originally scheduled a 15-minute Q&A, but became nervous of protestors hijacking the microphone, said Cameron Gittler, assistant director of productions. The speakers selected questions from a Twitter hashtag instead.

Trump Jr. highlighted some of the accomplishments of his father’s administration, such as the declining number of Americans on food stamps and record-low unemployment rates for minorities. He also mentioned the danger that socialism and communism brought to countries such as China and Venezuela. 

He occasionally stopped speaking to confront protesters yelling over him. 

“What is interesting about ideas is that your ideas can’t be all that good if you’re not willing to let other people speak theirs,” Trump Jr. said.  

When Guilfoyle began a sentence with “I have a dream,” people in the audience became agitated, chanting “Bull****!” To drown out their cries, supporters repeated, “USA! USA! USA!” 

She continued to speak, but the chants from the audience made the rest of her statement inaudible. 

“Oh, your parents must be so proud,” she said in response. 

Florida Sen. Keith Perry, Gator Party President Emily Dunson and Student Body President Michael Murphy attended the event. 

Guilfoyle spoke about being the senior adviser to the president after years of hard work. As a first-generation Latin American, she said she lives her life free of the victimhood that plagues some on the other side of the political spectrum.

Before the speech, Raemi Eagle-Glenn, a Gainesville attorney, waved a Trump flag almost twice her size. 

Her cousin got it for her at Trump’s election night party in 2016. She’s plans to vote for him again. 

“I’m here because I’m a feminist, because I believe in going against the crowd and fighting for our national sovereignty and for our economic freedom,” Eagle-Glenn said.  

Outside, protesters opposed the SG-funded event and a possible connection to Trump’s re-election campaign. 

#CHOMPTRUMP organizers said Michael Murphy’s ties to the Trump campaign were a conflict of interest. Murphy’s father, Dan Murphy, a former UF lobbyist, maxed out contributions and has been spotted with Trump Jr. this year, according to Politico. Murphy wrote there was “no conflict of interest,” in an email to The Alligator earlier this week. 

Trump Jr. directly thanked Murphy during his 30-minute-long speech. 

“Thanks University of Florida and the Gators, Mike Murphy, ACCENT Speakers Bureau, for having us out here today,” Trump Jr. said “Honestly guys, that takes guts and we appreciate it because that voice isn’t heard often on college campuses these days.”

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Senator Keith Perry wears socks with stars and stripes Thursday while waiting for Donald Trump Jr. to speak.