Florida

Donald Trump Jr. is speaking at the University of Florida. Some aren’t happy about that

Donald Trump Jr. is coming to Florida next week for several speaking events, creating a backlash from some students and a “free expression” reminder from a university.

President Donald Trump’s oldest son will start his speaking tour at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The university’s ACCENT Speakers Bureau announced this week that Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle, will give a keynote presentation on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

Guilfoyle is senior adviser for President Trump’s re-election campaign and a former co-host on Fox News’ “The Five.”

The pair will be paid $50,000, according to their contract with UF. It’s not clear how the payment will be split between them.

The money will come from student activity fees, which students pay along with their tuition.

Trump Jr.’s speech has sparked debate at the university, which has grappled in recent years with free-speech issues. Some students are comparing his selection to when the university hosted prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer in 2017.

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When Spencer came to campus, $600,000 worth of police presence from across Florida was stationed to keep the peace. There were five minor injuries and two arrests. Hundreds of protesters flooded the streets to speak out against him.

Inside the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, where Spencer spoke, a majority of the crowd screamed and chanted “F--- Spencer” and “Black Lives Matter” throughout his speech.

Reaction to Trump Jr. has mainly been on social media as students write on their timelines and set up protest events.

In a lighter form of protest, some students have created memes in the university’s popular Facebook meme page — Swampy UF memes for top ten public teens — against Trump Jr.

Due to the reaction, the university put out a statement:

“For more than 50 years, ACCENT, the Student Government speakers bureau at the University of Florida, has selected and invited speakers to campus, and the University welcomes those speakers as its guest...The University, in its statement on freedom of expression, has committed itself to ensuring that a wide variety of viewpoints are heard on campus as well as to protecting the First Amendment rights of all those in attendance.”

Since 2015, ACCENT has hosted several conservative speakers including Keith Perry, Ben Shapiro and John Kasich. In the past four years, the speakers bureau has tended to invite more comedians and philanthropists than politicians.

The day after Trump Jr. speaks at UF, he will be coming down to speak at the three-day American Priority conference at the Trump National resort in Doral.

In November, Trump Jr. has booked a visit to The Sandestin Resort in Miramar Beach to sign copies of his new book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives On Hate and Wants to Silence Us.”

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.
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