At 7:15 p.m. sharp, the University Auditorium at UF was packed with audience members waiting to hear Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle speak at an ACCENT Speakers Bureau event.
There was a mixture of students and non-students in attendance. Most were there in support of the speakers, while others were there hoping to disrupt the event. There were many “Make America Great Again” hats to be seen in the audience. Two students even stood during the whole entire speaking engagement holding up a “Trump: Make America Great Again” flag.
In the audience, there were many Student Government officials, including Branden Pearson, Senate Pro Tempore Emily Dunson and Student Body President Michael Murphy. Other notable figures like Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and Florida Senator Keith Perry were among the audience members.
Outside of the auditorium, protestors chanted and screamed hoping their protest would drown out the speakers. (Read our story on the protests here.)
When ACCENT Chairman, Henry Fair, took the stage to begin the show, the crowd erupted in a mixture of “USA” cheers and boos. Fair emphasized the mission of ACCENT, which was to bring exciting and controversial speakers to UF and asked for audience members to allow the speakers to present. Fears were high that the event would be shut down because of protestors, but it still made it through.
Guilfoyle speaks to the audience about her experiences growing up and how she came to be the person she is today (Photo: Sophia Ahmed).
Fair welcomed the first speaker onto the stage: Kimberly Guilfoyle. A former Fox News commentator, journalist and Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco, Guilfoyle is now a senior adviser for President Donald Trump. She is also Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, which she referenced in her talk.
“I have never believed I was a victim,” Guilfoyle said. “Life was not sunshine and roses for me.”
She spoke about how she overcame the stigma against minorities that says a Latina woman like herself can’t succeed. Her parents were immigrants, and, at 11 years old, Guilfoyle lost her mom, a special education teacher from Puerto Rico, to leukemia, leaving her dad, an Irish immigrant, to raise her by himself. But Guilfoyle asserted that they came to this country for the “American Dream” and that her work is meant to give many the chance at achieving the dream. As she was talking about her beliefs about immigration, citing how her father came to America legally, protestors in the audience began to boo and disrupt Guilfoyle.
“Oh my goodness, it seems like some people here need some Netflix and chill,” commented Guilfoyle in response.
Guilfoyle continued, detailing her education through to becoming a lawyer. She was a prosecutor on cases involving drugs, domestic violence, murder, kidnappings, sexual assault and more. Guilfoyle said it makes her sick to know crimes like that are happening in our country.
“That is why I wake up everyday,” she said. “I have a dream to continue to give back to fight for this country.”
Immediately after she said this, protestors in the crowd began to shout “bullshit,” to which Guilfoyle replied, “Oh your parents would be so proud, wouldn’t they?”
Guilfoyle then went on to talk about how this all led to her becoming a senior adviser to Trump. She believes her work has made lives better in this country.
“We are a nation of immigrants, but we are a nation of laws as well,” Guilfoyle said.
Guilfoyle introduces her boyfriend, Donald Trump Jr (Photo: Sophia Ahmed).
It was through this part that she segued into Trump Jr.’s portion of the event, and he appeared right behind her. The crowd erupted again in a mixture of “USA” cheers and boos. They shared a quick kiss, and Trump Jr. proceeded to his portion.
Trump Jr. talks to the audience about his book and his opinions on the state of America today, including criticism about socialism and the Democratic Party (Photo: Sophia Ahmed).
Trump Jr. started off his talk after the kiss by making the joke, “She kissed me. I don’t want to get Me Too’d on a college campus.”
The purpose of Trump Jr.’s appearance was to promote his new book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.”
“I don’t have to explain why the book is called triggered because you can hear from the audience why that is,” Trump Jr. said.
The rest of his talk began with his experience coming to UF for the Florida-Georgia game in 2016. He got much love from his supporters here and reminisced about the fond memories he had bringing his daughters to campus. Then Trump Jr. began to reminisce further back in time to when he was a kid and would visit his grandfather in Czechoslovakia.
When visiting Czechoslovakia, Trump Jr. would remember how his grandfather would take him to stand in bread lines “when they were still great.”
Trump Jr. looks above at audience members sitting in the balcony level. Most seats in the auditorium were filled (Photo: Sophia Ahmed).
Trump Jr. then said to the crowd, “Why is it that no one who has lived under socialism and communism will never vouch for it?” This elicited cheers from his supporters, and the protesters began shouting at him again.
Over the sounds of the audience, Trump Jr. proceeded to criticize the idea of a socialist government. He was calling out the fallacies in wanting a socialist government, saying no one who had ever lived in socialism ever had anything good to say from it. Trump Jr. then went on to cite Venezuela as an example of socialism ruining a country. To Trump Jr., socialism was not the key to success.
“Socialism in this country is plaguing the Democratic Party,” Trump Jr. said.
He emphasized how his father’s work in office has made this country better and how the media has portrayed it otherwise, stating, “The media has been functioning as the marketing division of the DNC (Democratic National Committee).” Trump Jr. said according to the media, “wanting to achieve the American Dream is selfish.”
He listed his father’s accomplishments in lowering the unemployment rates and helping those in poverty. Trump Jr. also criticized Democrats for promising more than they can give, citing the high amount of food stamps in this country as an example. To him, Trump Jr. believes that the work of his father will truly make America great again.
Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle begin to answer questions through use of the Twitter hashtag, #AskDonandKim (Photo: Sophia Ahmed).
After this, Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle had a Q&A session through use of the hashtag on Twitter, #AskDonandKim. This was the first time an ACCENT show utilized this method of Q&A.
The first question asked was for Trump Jr.: “How hard was it to transition from business to politics?”
“It was nice to step away from business and fight for the issues I care about,” Trump Jr. said.
After this, more questions were asked, but they were hard to hear because protestors began to drown them out. As more questions were asked, the event time ran out, and supporters began to chant “USA” while protesters booed. The two speakers threw up the Gator chomp briefly and were escorted off stage by the Secret Service.
After the event, Florida State Senator Perry was able to comment about how the event went with the protestors.
“I think it was unfortunate that the disruptions kept on happening,” Perry said. “You come to these events to hear someone speak. It was uncivil, and it doesn’t leave a proper dialogue.”
Chase Werther, a 22-year-old political science senior, stayed outside and protested for the duration of the event.
“I feel worse,” Werther sid after the event. “I still feel very disappointed in my university, but I’m glad there was so much solidarity from the people here who came to protest and no one let up and there was a lot of energy.”
A protestor outside of the event wears a President Trump head with a jail outfit, holding a sign that says, “We can’t wait Impeach” (Photo: Sophia Ahmed).