Donald Trump's inauguration has Montreal kids talking about their worries

CBC Daybreak's Shari Okeke asked Montreal elementary and high school students for their thoughts on Donald Trump and what his presidency means to them.
Ruby, 10, watched the U.S. election debates but does not want to follow coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration. 'I just can't believe why people would ever do that to themselves, to this world, vote for Donald Trump.' (Shari Okeke/CBC)

Ten-year-old Ruby watched the U.S. presidential debates but says she would rather avoid the coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration this week.

She has strong opinions about the incoming president.

"I couldn't find a word in the dictionary that could describe him. Nothing's too harsh to describe Donald Trump," she said.

During the presidential campaign, Ruby took particular offence when she heard some of Trump's comments about women.

'So rude'

"He says that since he's a star he can just grab women in places, and I think that is so rude and so not true," Ruby said.

Ruby and some of her fifth-grade friends in Montreal also worry about an increased risk of war during Trump's presidency. 

During the U.S. election campaign, she said she asked her parents whether a Trump win would mean "we're going to get bombs."

"My parents always said, 'Donald Trump isn't going to win.' Then he won, and they looked at me like, 'We should have never said that.'"

"I'm just worried about bombs because he's a man that you can never tell what he's planning next," she said. 

'His feelings would be really hurt'

Emma Tomczak, 9, seen here hugging her younger sister Olivia, 7, is concerned about Donald Trump's feelings when classmates make fun of him. 'If they can't really say anything nice about him, then don't say anything at all.'

Emma Tomczak, 9, lives in Pincourt and says she feels like she's the only person concerned about Trump's feelings.

She doesn't like hearing her grade-three classmates make jokes about the U.S. president-elect.

"My friends are talking about him … saying that he's the meanest person on earth, or he's dumb because he has orange skin," she said.

"If he hears that people are saying that … then his feelings would be really hurt," Emma said.

Emma said she feels uncomfortable hearing the comments because it reminds her of kids making fun of other kids just because they are different.

"If they can't really say anything nice about him, then don't say anything at all," she said.

'Women are very important'

Timothy Stoute, 12, says he is disappointed Donald Trump is about to become president. 'If you're in school, you're not going to vote for a bully to be class president.' (Shari Okeke/CBC)

Timothy Stoute, 12, a grade-seven student who lives in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, says he's disappointed Trump is becoming the 45th president of the United States.

"He's offensive to just all people. If you're in school, you're not going to vote for a bully to be class president," he said.

Timothy says his family often travels to the U.S. for vacation, but his father is now feeling less comfortable about crossing the border.

It's a concern for Timothy, too, who worries racial tensions could result in altercations between those who support Trump and those who do not.

"You see racism happen everywhere, but you don't want to see it where you're going to try to relax and have a vacation. That's one of the worst things to happen," he said.

Timothy, like Ruby, also takes issue with some of Trump's comments about women.

"When I thought about it I [thought], 'Whoa. I don't think my mom's an object. She's really important in my life,'" he said.

"Women are very important. Everybody should be treated the same, but he sees it differently."

'I don't believe all Trump supporters are racist'

Angelica Antonakopoulos, 15, says Trump is a voice that allows other people to voice their hate but she wants to have conversations his supporters to hear their points of view. 'That would be very interesting because I don't believe that all Trump supporters are racist.' (Shari Okeke/CBC)

Angelica Antonakopolous, a 15-year-old from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, follows politics closely. 

She said she's worried about Canada's relationship with the U.S. under Trump's presidency because she believes it could make Canada vulnerable to terrorism.

"Being their close neighbour and them being one of our bigger allies, I really think if he makes a wrong move, and in turn we make a wrong move, we could end up on someone's target board," she said.

Angelica is also thinking about Canadians' safety when crossing the border, especially the safety of visible minorities and members of the LGBT community, because she said Trump's voicing of his opinions has allowed other people to voice their hate.

"I'm also very scared about his vice-president, Mike Pence, because he seems to be anti-LGBT rights, and knowing a bunch of LGBTQ+ people, that's really concerning," she said.

Still, Angelica says she would like to reach out to Trump supporters and engage in conversations with them to find out how they perceive him as a leader.

"I definitely think that would be very interesting because I don't believe that all Trump supporters are racist," she said.

"It's important, especially when you're talking politics, to see things from different points of view."

About the Author

Shari Okeke is writer/broadcaster for Daybreak on CBC Radio, and creator of Mic Drop, an award-winning CBC original podcast.