Baruch College President Mitchel B. Wallerstein joined a panel of professors in a discussion moderated by David S. Birdsell, Marxe Dean of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. The discussion focused on predictions for President-elect Donald Trump’s actions during his first 100 days in office. The professors, who were experts in their respective fields of study, gave their expectations for Trump’s first 100 days.
After having introduced each of the panelists and their respective agendas, Birdsell continually stressed the fact that Trump has been fluctuating in his policies even after he won the election, so each prediction can only be a speculation. Birdsell stressed his inconsistencies several times prior to the start of the discussion.
Each speaker was allotted five minutes to explain his or her specific field of expertise and elaborate on Trump’s prospective response to a problem in that field, but nearly everyone went significantly over time.
Wallerstein was the first to discuss his prediction on how Trump will handle national security conflicts.
“In the area of defense, national security, foreign policy, [Trump] has completely reversed his position on the use of torture, so we don’t know exactly how this will shake out," Wallerstein said. “The key concern, of course, is that the president-elect in these areas has zero background. He has purportedly been rejecting intelligence briefings that have been offered to him and that are routine for any incoming president.”
Wallerstein went on to discuss other issues that remain unresolved and uncertain due to Trump’s imminent presidency.
The South China Sea, for example, has been heavily debated since China began its effort to assert power over the region. This poses a great conflict for other nations since the South China Sea is a major trade route.
Wallerstein commented that the division of the South China Sea is unpredictable at this point in time.
He also questioned nuclear proliferation since Trump repeatedly claimed that he would not mind if Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea acquired nuclear weapons.
There is also the pressing issue of climate change, which, Wallerstein explained, Trump blatantly dismisses as a hoax.
Professor Els de Graauw of the Department of Political Science spoke about Trump’s prospective immigration policies. She predicted that during his first 100 days in office, he is going to work to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, as he has not backed down from his original promise to curb immigration. If DACA were to be repealed, over 740,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally may have to face deportation, according to de Graauw.
Judith Kafka, a professor at the Marxe School who specializes in kindergarten through 12th-grade education, said that some republican ideals include redirecting federal money that is going into public education into vouchers for private schools.
She predicts that Trump will mostly base his first 100 days on conservative ideology, but he will not begin to implement the voucher program soon.
During his presidency, Barack Obama passed a law that allowed citizens to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify. Trump has demonstrated a lack of support for the transgender bathroom initiative proposed by Obama.
Kafka, however, predicted that despite his adverse reaction, Trump will not act on reversing this law within the first 100 days of his presidency.
The president-elect has fluctuated on his stances for a number of issues since he won the election. He has, according to some, lightened his proposal to build a wall along the southern border of the United States; he has settled for light fencing along some parts of the border. Similarly, he has begun to discourage racist remarks even though his campaign had been primarily fueled by white supremacist language.
Professor John Casey from the Marxe School specializes in civil society and how it might be affected by Trump’s policies.
Although he cannot say for certain that Trump will try to privatize nonprofits and non-government organizations, he did have one piece of good news that he delivered confidently.
He said, “I can promise is that there will be an increase in donations to your organizations within the next few weeks.”
Those who oppose Trump, Casey said, will be more inclined to donate to nonprofit organizations that fight for causes like LGBT equality.
Dahlia Remler, also a professor at the Marxe School, discussed Trump’s possible reforms to healthcare.
“It looks like Trump will follow the traditional Republicans on this topic. He has strong rhetoric about the topic and he has a substantial base of knowledge on it,” Remler said.
She predicted that within his first 100 days in office, he will immediately come up with a plan to repeal Obamacare.
“I think one of the limbs I will go out on in terms of prediction is if Trump is politically smart, he will avoid having health policies with his name on them. Once there is 'Trumpcare,' there is no way there won’t be losers and people who do not support it,” Remler said.
After the panelists spoke, there was a brief question and answer period in which most participants asked for clarification from one of the speakers.