On his way to a five-country tour in Asia, U.S. President Donald Trump visited Oahu for a day, a visit that was met with several protests and disapproval from locals, according to Hawaii News Now.
“To be honest, I didn't expect his stay to be long from the beginning because Hawaii isn't the kind of place I think he'd like,” said former BYU-Hawaii student, Hyram Navigator, from Arizona.
“However, when he did arrive, there were people here to meet him. From the pictures and word of mouth I heard, I believe many members of the military were excited for his arrival.”
Rulon Olmstead, a senior from Utah studying mathematics, said he thinks part of the reason Hawaii didn’t greet President Trump warmly to the island was because former President Barack Obama was from the state of Hawaii.
“Hawaii had a great representative over the last eight years, President Obama,” Olmstead said. “It’s really hard to beat him, especially in a place like here which is his home.”
According to LA Times, only 30 percent of voters in Hawaii cast their ballots for Trump, which is the lowest of any state.
Olmstead continued, “I think Hawaiians are hurt a little bit because they had such a good president who they cared about for eight years, and now there’s this other guy who they don’t care about so much.”
Navigator said he experienced firsthand the traffic and chaos in town and said while he understood the importance of the president traveling safely, he isn’t looking forward to Trump’s next visit.
“Honolulu city officials had tried to prepare the city for when Trump arrived,” Navigator said. “Basically, the entire freeway and entrances to Waikiki would be closed down in order to ensure his safe arrival. It was a bit stressful because there was traffic everywhere.”
Local protestors also held anti-Trump signs and gathered in Honolulu the day of Trump’s arrival. Navigator said he thought the signs were in good taste.
Navigator said, “I personally enjoyed seeing the protestors as the State Capitol because their signs seemed to be somewhat respectful but using the same kind of 'political bashing' that Trump likes to do.”
Some signs read “Welcome to Kenya,” referring to how Trump proposed that former President Obama was from Kenya and not Hawaii.
“While there weren't many protestors from what I could see, and while it was unlikely that Trump even saw them, I thought it was all in good taste and made a clear message that many do not like that Trump was here,” stated Navigator.
Olmstead also said he didn’t see the harm in the points being made by protestors. “I don’t mind there being protestors voicing their opinions against Trump. I thought it was good that they turned out in such large numbers to voice their opinions against him.”
Not all BYUH students agreed with what these protestors were standing up for. Allie Hunter, a freshman from California studying communications, said she believes Trump should have been welcomed without protestors.
“I feel that the president deserves a better welcome,” said Hunter. “Even if we do not agree with his choices or behaviors, we can all respect that he is our president and leader.”