The coronavirus pandemic has caused the majority of concerts, fairs and campus events at Long Beach State to be canceled or postponed. However, rallies hosted by President Donald J. Trump have been seemingly excluded from this rule.
As Trump has been on the campaign trail urging voters to re-elect him on Nov. 3, he has been hosting rallies that attract big crowds of supporters with little signs of social distancing and enforcement of safety regulations. Students at CSULB have mixed views about the president being allowed to do this.
THANK YOU TUCSON, ARIZONA! Together, we are going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!! pic.twitter.com/GYB2zG0f4H
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2020
Adriana Ochoa, a fourth-year sociology major, said she doesn’t feel that the president should not be allowed to host campaign rallies during a pandemic.
“How could he, as the leader of our country?” Ochoa said. “I just don’t understand how someone could ever justify that.”
Ochoa was affected by the widespread event cancelation brought on by the pandemic. In March, she was supposed to go to Yellowstone National Park on a class trip and had bought her ticket and supplies, which cost her approximately $400.
Even though she was refunded for her ticket, the money she spent on other essentials is long gone.
“It was immediately canceled, and that was a huge bummer,” she said.
Ochoa criticizes Trump and his administration for how they handled the pandemic. She feels that a national mask mandate could have helped slow the spread of the virus.
Richie Kennedy, a fourth-year American studies major, said he doesn’t believe that the federal government should be solely responsible for how the country is handling the pandemic. He feels that local and state governments should take some of the blame.
“I totally don’t agree with how they were able to shut down everything so fast and how slow they were able to reopen,” Kennedy said. “I know a lot of it is out of precaution, but it hurt many different businesses.”
Kennedy is an owner of three businesses, including a photo company, a printing company and a real estate company, and said that the pandemic negatively affected his photo and print companies.
He said that his real estate business was able to keep him afloat as “it’s one of the booming sectors of the economy right now.”
“I was really scared around mid-March, I thought all my sources of income were going to go completely out of whack. I was very scared for my future,” Kennedy said. “Real estate was able to save me.”
Like Ochoa, the pandemic forced Kennedy to cancel his travel plans during the summer. He said he was planning to visit his family in Cuba and celebrate his cousin graduating from the University of Havana.
Despite his summer plans being canceled, Kennedy has no problem with the commander in chief to hold in-person events. He does feel, however, that if the president is able to host large gatherings, then CSULB should be granted the same opportunity.
“I think it’s fine. I think we should be able to have events as long as you do it safely,” he said. “If [Trump] is able to have rallies, our school should be able to host a graduation ceremony safely.”
Second-year journalism major Bella Arnold disagrees with this sentiment and feels that the president shouldn’t be allowed to host his in-person campaign rallies.
“Just hosting these large-scale events is disgusting and despicable,” Arnold said.
Arnold feels that although the president is holding these events in states that have looser coronavirus-related restrictions, he still shouldn’t be allowed to host them at all.
She thinks he’s just doing this to cater to his supporters.
“[He is] scrutinizing the lives of the people that have been lost,” Arnold said, referring to Trump. “[He] handled the situation poorly because [he doesn’t] care about people, [he] just care[s] about [his] re-election.”