Over three months since winning the national election and about three weeks since assuming the highest office in the land, President Donald Trump has already made some notable comments and political maneuvers, according to Independent Guåhan media chairman Michael Bevaqcua.
“We decided to basically have a check-in because people feel so uncertain; they’re not sure of the direction of the U.S. and they’re not sure what’s going to happen to Guam as well,” Bevacqua said. “People really wanted us to provide information on how Guam might be affected by Trump’s presidency, so we decided to hold an event where we could kind of take stock of that.”
In response to Trump’s recent policies and what he considers to be radical statements, Bevacqua under Independent Guåhan initiated a “Trump check-in” yesterday, which gathered multiple University of Guam students and community members to learn about Trump’s recent moves as president and what they could mean for Guam.
A follow up to the “Trump Teach-In” Independent Guåhan hosted last November, which gathered interested individuals to learn about what Trump’s presidency meant for Guam, Bevacqua said that it was an appropriate time to put together another event in order to put a public spotlight on the recently elected leader’s moves and their possible ramifications for Guam residents.
“The teach-in we had last year was very successful and it was definitely indicative of a lot of uncertainty that people were feeling at the time,” Bevacqua said. “As the weeks passed across the United States and the world, the feeling didn’t necessarily disappear.”
'The closer he pushes us into danger'
Presenting on topics including the island’s economy, regional security threats and the ongoing quest for decolonization, Bevacqua related President Trump’s stance on foreign policy as well as his relations with Guam’s neighboring nations to potentially dangerous consequences that island residents should be aware and cautious of, he said.
“This doesn’t affect people in Montana or Arkansas, but we’re on the edge of Asia, we’re the tip of America’s spear,” Bevaqcua said. “It puts us into a lot of danger not thinking about the consequences of his words or actions. Those of us on Guam have to take this very seriously because the more reckless his rhetoric is the closer he pushes us into danger.”
Referencing Trump’s proposed policies and signed executive orders that Bevaqcua says “continue to rock the country,” he said that Trump’s unraveling of economic and military alliances and aggressive moves toward China are cause for Guam resident’s worry over how the rest of the president’s term might affect the island.
“We haven’t had a president like this in any of our lives who represents a danger because they’re not taking the consequences seriously,” Bevacqua said. “A lot of what we see with Trump antagonizing China is him not having a coherent policy of how to engage with China and other countries. This is going to impact Guam very directly because we are in the range of the missiles that China has."
'You can never get too much education'
UOG senior Stasia Yoshida was glad to hear that Independent Guåhan was hosting another Trump teach-in. She explained that many college students including herself don’t usually take the time to educate themselves on the impact of certain national affairs, but that events like the Trump Check-In allowed her to keep up to date.
“I don’t have time to sit down and collect my own research; this was a more tangible way of being informed so that I’ll have a more general sense of what is going on with the whole Trump presidency,” Yoshida said. “It’s important to have these kinds of conversations and to talk about these things, the more education that is presented the better and you can never get too much education.”
According to Bevaqcua, after hosting at least six teach-ins since last year, Independent Guåhan is aiming to host monthly teach-ins on different island issues throughout the year in response to community demand and feedback.