Tamir Kalifa / The New York Times

A volunteer with President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in Texas sets up yard signs at the Stampede Saloon in Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 7, 2020.

October 12, 2020

Cornell Republicans Endorse Trump, Breaking With 2016 Position

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The Cornell Republicans endorsed President Donald Trump for re-election Monday, marking a reversal of their 2016 stance when they refused to support Trump’s campaign.

In a phone call Monday night, the club’s president, Weston Barker ’21, said that he could not provide one specific reason or statement for any of the club’s endorsements this year. Unlike past years, the general body voted on endorsements, not just the club’s six leaders.

“The way that this vote was held was not a decision of the executive board,” Barker said. “So there isn’t necessarily a clear rationale that can be established, because it is large scale voting in large scale conversations.”

In 2016, the group endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president, but not without repercussions: The New York Federation of College Republicans excommunicated the chapter, before reinstating them 16 days later. The Cornell Republicans appealed the decision to the College Republican National Committee and threatened litigation before it was reinstated.

A statement from club leadership in 2016 on the endorsement denounced Trump’s language and demeanor, stating that he “should not be the face of American conservatism.”

In similar fashion to the Cornell chapter’s flip, the Harvard Republican Club elected to back Trump this year after the group had previously labeled him a “threat to the survival of the Republic” in 2016, The Harvard Crimson reported.

In 2017, after Trump’s election, the Cornell Republicans faced backlash not from the left, but from Ann Coulter ’84, who called the group “useless weanies” on Twitter in response to the president of the club saying it was “very difficult” to be a Republican on campus in an opinion piece in The New York Times.

In an email to The Sun, the Cornell Republicans also rolled out endorsements for Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and State Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-N.Y.) for re-election. In the race for New York’s 22nd congressional district, they endorsed former Rep. Claudia Tenney, who is attempting to reclaim her seat after losing in 2018. Continuing down the Republican column of Ithaca’s ballot, the group also endorsed Matthew McIntyre for New York’s 125th Assembly District and Brian D. Burns for New York State Supreme Court Justice.


Johnathan Stimpson ’21 contributed reporting.