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Rutgers students react to surprise Trump victory

<p>Students watched CNN and Fox News&nbsp;as election results came in&nbsp;on Tuesday night in the College Avenue Student Center.</p>

Students watched CNN and Fox News as election results came in on Tuesday night in the College Avenue Student Center.

After Tuesday night, Donald Trump is set to be the 45th President of the United States. “Shocked” and “devastated” are just some of the words Rutgers students used to describe their reaction.

“I am numb. I am ill. I am in utter disbelief that we elected this joke of a candidate,” said Elijah Reiss, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “I cannot believe that this hateful, offensive, repugnant and inexperienced demagogue is going to be the next president of my country.”

The United States is more divided than anyone expected, Reiss said while noting that perhaps the most divisive candidate in history has been elected.

Reiss said he fears for his friends who are not white, straight and male.

“My stomach was churning watching the polls with some of my friends. Christians, Jews, a Muslim,” said Emily Kadosh, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

Kadosh said Trump profits from systems of oppression and a person who votes for him is thereby “unintentionally causing harm."

“You can like his policies, or the ways he describes women or Muslims, but you cannot assert that they don’t correlate with violating basic human rights," she said.

Her views are not based on disliking privileged people, she said, but about condemning ignorance.

The election was surprising, said Joseph Epstein, an Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Health senior.

“Hearing the numbers be way off from projections for both of them showed me that nobody knew what was flying with this election,” he said.

But the results did not scare Epstein, who said people should “relax” and give Trump a chance.

“I'm not scared, I'm not moving and I don't think anyone is going to either,” he said.

The United States will continue to divide until there is a mutual agreement and understanding among people and an effort to begin the next chapter of history, he said.

“Trump surprised us by winning an election nobody thought he ever could, now I think we should sit back and see if he can surprise us again over the next four years,” Epstein said. “I think he can put America on the right path to in the future, make it great again,” he said.

When she saw the election results, Molly Stewart, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she felt beyond disappointed.

“I suppose I had more hope in the American people to see how dangerous and problematic Trump's rhetoric has been,” she said. “ I had believed since his statements over the past year have been so blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. that the majority of American people would recognize this man could never be fit for president.”

Stewart said she is anxious for the future because the Republican Party now almost dominate the United States government and because of the culture Trump has shaped.

“His presidency has legitimized prejudice in so many people, to the point where I believe minorities are in danger,” she said. “They are in danger of their rights being taken from them, in danger of being exposed to hate speech, or even worse being exposed to physical violence.”

While Stewart said Trump’s presidency has the potential to set the Unites States back by several years, she also retains a sense of hope that it will light a fire inside individuals to fight even harder to protect people.

“As disappointed, nervous and upset as I am, I feel this will spark something so much bigger,” she said.

Reiss said dark days lie ahead, but ultimately, the country will move past this.

“We must unite together to oppose the atrocities that are to come in the days ahead and we must stay vigilant in knowing that hope still exists here,” Reiss said.

Taylin Leibowitz, a School of Arts and Science sophomore, recalled students holding their heads down as they walked down the College Avenue campus Wednesday morning. 

Still, Leibowitz is trying to remain positive.

Leibowitz finds it difficult to accept that people can harbor extreme hate and promote a person like Trump.

“I hope our country can come together and continue to be the America we know it can be,” she said. “I will continue to stay optimistic and to fight for what's right and I encourage everyone to do the same, but right now it is hard to see a brighter future.”

Noa Halff is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum.

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