MSU Sponsored Bipartisan Dinner Bashes President Trump
Updated: Oct 14
Author: Sergei Kelley
A Michigan State University sponsored event, hosted February 7, slammed President Trump of having a “reptilian brain,” among other strong criticisms.
The event, the 24th Annual Michigan Political Leadership Program Fundraising Dinner, featured speakers from both sides of the aisle.
The Michigan Political Leadership Program Dinner helps fund the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) program. Each year the program supports twenty four interested public policy or political science students to familiarize them with the policy making process.
Speakers included CNN affiliate and Democratic political commentator Patti Doyle, , as well as political strategist and analyst Alex Castellanos. Attendees of the event included public policy students, legislators, and lobbying groups. Also in attendance was current Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Castellanos accused President Trump of being “reptilian” during the moderated Q&A period, in his response to a question regarding Trump’s character.
“Donald Trump lies, he has the undistilled reptilian brain,” he said. “It’s not the rational part that likes policy. It’s not our emotional-social brain that gets along with people, it’s the reptilian brain.”
This response was directly after Doyle accused Trump of being a liar. The audience had mixed reaction among legislators, specifically Republican State Senator Tom Barrett (MI-24), and Republican State Representative Matt Maddock (MI-44).
The Morning Watch counted that approximately six attendees left after these comments.
“I just got up and left,” Senator Barrett told The Morning Watch. “It became a competition of who hates Trump more. When called ‘reptilian’ it’s an insult to the President and supporters, an insult to me.”
“The Governor gave a non partisan speech, then it went into carnival show,” Barrett said.
“[Now] [t]here is a consideration of lawmakers not to attend again.”
Arnold Weinfeld, the Interim Director for the MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, thought the comments had a minimal effect on the audience.
"Not much effect at all,” stated Weinfeld. “The MPLP event that we had is a fundraiser for the MPLP. Program itself brings together 24 people from around Michigan...to learn about politics. We specifically choose 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats to bring diverse viewpoints. I didn't think it had much effect."
Still, criticism of the President remained a common theme throughout the rest of the event with several more coming from Doyle.
During the Q&A session, Doyle said that Democrats need to “just show up” to beat the President in 2020. She said that Democrats' motivation stems from anger at what Donald Trump is doing to the country.
Castellanos thought a great economy would hurt Trump’s 2020 chances because of the “Churchill Effect.”
“Why would Americans put up with Trump and his personal failings if things were going ok,” Castellanos asked.
This response to a booming economy seemed unexpected by Doyle who briefly turned and gave Castellanos a puzzled look.
The allegation of Russian collusion was also an unavoidable point brought up by Doyle. Responding to the moderated question of whether he will be impeached or not, Doyle stated no, but continued by saying, “everything this man touches is currently under investigation, whether it's through the Justice Department, Russia investigation, something in the southern district of New York, it’s the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign.”
“One of the reasons he wants to run again is because legal issues, and a sitting President can not be indicted,” Doyle said. She brought this point forward from a recent piece by The New York Times.
“Can you imagine someone who wants to be President of the United States just to stay out of jail,” Doyle asked.
Both Doyle and Castellanos shared their beliefs for the 2020 ballot box to be the best mediator of the United States Presidency for 2020.
“I think the comments from the event were counterproductive to fundraising and providing support for the program,” Aleks Oslapas, president of the MSU College Republicans, told The Morning Watch.
“I work within a bipartisan group (Spartans for Israel) myself and we make it very clear to speakers that our events are not a platform to attack the other side,” Oslapas said.
Contributor: Sergei Kelley