BU Students Debate Presidential Politics

Nicholas Fuentes, a Donald Trump supporter, speaks during a debate against Student Government President Jake Brewer, a Hillary Clinton supporter, Nov. 6, 2016 in the George Sherman Union, Boston, Mass. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/BU News Service
Written by Kris Atienza

By Kristina Atienza
BU News Service

“Clinton is a lizard person.”

That’s the belief of Trump supporter Nicholas Fuentes, who recently found himself at the center of outrage in Boston University’s online community.

Fuentes, a freshman at BU, said the comment during a Sunday night debate against Student Government President Jake Brewer. In the debate, Fuentes and Brewer made cases for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively, to be elected president.

The debate was organized by the BU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty after Fuentes gave a controversial interview in BU Today’s “Who I’ll be voting for” video series. In the video, Fuentes said that he supports Trump because of the candidate’s views on preserving traditional American culture.

“Political correctness and the multicultural movement in America are subverting any effort that a conservative could ever make to change the country,” Fuentes said in the video.

Student Government President Jake Brewer, a Clinton supporter, speaks during a debate against Nicholas Fuentes, a Donald Trump supporter. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/BU News Service

Student Government President Jake Brewer, a Clinton supporter, speaks during a debate, moderated by Alec Dakin (left) against Nicholas Fuentes, a Donald Trump supporter. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/BU News Service

Fuentes went even further on Twitter.

After reaction to the BU Today video and his social media comments, Fuentes faced online backlash that included physical threats against him.

This strong negative reaction prompted moderator Alec Dakin and the Young Americans for Liberty to host a debate with Fuentes and Brewer to provide “an equal platform” for both participants to discuss their opposing views in a “professional, civil and mature manner.”

Going into the debate, the YAL wanted to provide a discussion between Fuentes, Brewer and the audience to talk about the issues in a professional manner instead of “hiding behind keyboards and typing away insults at him.”

Some in the audience questioned the decision to have Brewer argue for Clinton after he said he was “not a liberal or Hillary supporter.” Brewer added that he did not vote for Clinton. Fuentes said he is a strong Trump supporter who was “giving a face to the dying face of conservatism in this country” for his candidate.

“We wanted to hold a rational discussion between two very well-spoken people that everyone wanted to confront,” Dakin said.

Lindsey Fourt (CFA '18) reacts during the debate.

Lindsey Fourt (CFA ’18) reacts during the debate.

The audience vocally opposed Fuentes throughout the debate, constantly booing and interrupting him as he tried to defend himself and Trump. Fuentes tried to defend himself, going so far as to call some audience members “godless hippies.”

Following the debate, audience members had the chance to confront Fuentes about the statements he made online and during the debate. Fuentes stood by his statements.

“Multiculturalism cannot be cured and that political correctness is a threat to the country,” Fuentes said.

Some audience members seemed to leave more upset than they were at the beginning of the debate. Both Fuentes and Brewer were called “absolutely ridiculous” on different occasions by audience members.

At the end of the night, who won?

Fuentes said he enjoyed the debate, happy to be able to make his case even though he believed the audience did not come with an open mind.

“I think I won, I think it got a little ugly, but it wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t ugly,” Fuentes said. “I think it’s fun when people yell out and you can antagonize the crowd a little bit. People don’t like policy discussions because they’re so boring. What Trump has introduced into politics is fun to watch.”

Brewer didn’t agree with his opponent on the debate’s outcome.

“I don’t think the night went all that great,” Brewer said. “It’s unfortunate because I came into it with questions that were really thoughtful, and he likes to bombast through it. I feel like the points that were raised really weren’t addressed. I don’t think anyone really got anything from it.”

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