Alan Cobb, a member of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, spoke to a politics class at Wichita State Thursday.
“I’m glad to see no one is wearing safety pins here,” Cobb said to the class.
After Nov. 9, people have been wearing safety pins fastened to their shirts to symbolize solidarity with marginalized communities. The safety pin has also become a symbol of opposition to the president-elect.
Cobb, who received his bachelor’s degree from Wichita State, played a key role in getting Trump’s name on all 56 ballots before the primary election. During his talk, Cobb hinted at the possibility of potentially joining Trump’s administration once his term begins.
Cobb said that he finds it “astonishing” that the candidate he has campaigned for since February earned the highest elected office in the nation without any previous political experience.
Throughout his talk, Cobb took questions from the audience of students.
Questions concerned the president-elect’s policies and stances on issues, as well as some addressing several of Trump’s controversial remarks.
Cobb elicited laughter from students when he responded to a question about Trump’s treatment of women by saying that Trump has “always had a very high opinion of women.”
He also dismissed the scrutiny Trump has faced in light of leaked tapes of his lewd comments about women as jumping to “conclusion[s] based on a two-minute tape.”
Cobb said that the president-elect is “worried about bigger issues” than the multiple women who have recently come out accusing Trump of sexual assault. He also said it was “selective outrage” to fixate on his accusers.
Cobb also pointed out that Trump was more popular among black and Hispanic voters than Republican nominee Mitt Romney was in 2012. He credited this to Trump approaching marginalized communities and “asking for (their) vote.”
Cobb accused mass media of unfairly looking “to confirm their bias” when it comes to reporting on the president-elect.
He reiterated Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border, adding that “most Hispanics don’t have a problem with the wall.”
A student cited Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s support of conversion therapy and opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage as a cause of discomfort and even fear among LGBTQ Americans in light of Trump’s election.
“These are fair questions,” Cobb responded. “But are these the most important questions when our country is facing $19 trillion in debt?
“We’re not anti-establishment. We just want to be inclusive. We need the establishment and we need the Tea Party and we want Democrats. We need it all to function and govern.”