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Experts in White House transitions, economics, and gender issues available to comment ahead of Trump inauguration

January 12, 2017

Official White House photo

The White House
Official White House photo

With final preparations underway to inaugurate Donald J. Trump as the nation’s 45th president, Virginia Tech has experts ready to provide insight in a variety of subject areas.

History of presidential transitions

“In some ways this transition resembled its predecessors, but there were also differences,” says Charles Walcott, professor emeritus of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “Among the things that mark this as a distinctive transition are the unprecedented number of conflict-of-interest issues raised by Trump's collection of billionaire nominees and the President-elect's constant tweeting and virtual domination of the media's attention during the process.”

About Walcott
Walcott’s research interests focus upon the U.S. presidency, especially as it can be understood through organization theory and on organizational governance generally. Walcott's research over the past two decades has focused principally upon understanding the structural evolution and workings of the White House and its offices.

View Walcott’s full bio

Impact of the inauguration on global economics

“One of the biggest risks of the Trump presidency is government is going to be a source of uncertainty rather than certainty, which is a sort of paradoxical thing that none of our textbooks deal with,” says David Bieri, an associate professor of urban affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “Our conventional assumption is that uncertainty is inherent in markets and then governments intervene or regulate so as to create certainty. Right now it’s the inverse problem. There are a number of big things in the pipeline that a Trump government — or in fact a Republican congress — might do. That’s currently the biggest risk to the economy.” 

About Bieri
Bieri’s teaching interests are at the intersection of public finance, monetary theory and economic geography. He holds a joint appointment in the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience and in the School of Public and International Affairs. He has held various senior positions at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to his work in central banking, he worked as in investment banking in London and Zurich.

View Bieri’s full bio.

The Women’s March on Washington

“Certainly there are women who have always fought against and will continue to fight against systemic sexism and patriarchal structures,” said Brandy Faulkner, a visiting assistant professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “I think this march, though, is taking place in a different context. We have a president-elect who is on tape bragging about a sexual assault. Yet, roughly 53 percent of white women who voted supported him.

“For someone like Trump who often touts his high levels of support, that number is not insignificant. Organizers of the march have since been reaching out to women of color to build a more inclusive resistance to Trump's presidency. It will be interesting to see how this intersectional approach fares on Jan. 21. Many women's organizations around the country support the march, and I believe there will be a strong turnout. What matters more, though, is whether the groups will pursue a collective policy agenda after the marching is done.”

About Faulkner
Faulkner’s areas of expertise includes constitutional and administrative law, race and public policy, and critical organization theory. 

View Faulkner's full bio

Melania Trump’s planned cyberbullying initiative

“Although online abuse is often associated with social networks like Twitter, it is much more prevalent on anonymous apps like Yik Yak or Whisper,” says Gang Wang, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering. “After analyzing over a million messages, we found anonymity does in fact breed contempt, with anonymous sites deleting four times the amount of abusive content. A good way for the upcoming first lady to address the issue of cyberbullying may be to further investigate the use of anonymous social networks among young children.

"Our team has also found a way to pull back the curtain on anonymous users by detecting click patterns. Tools that utilize this approach may serve as effective countermeasure for cyberbullying."

About Wang
Gang Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. His research is focused on security and privacy in online communities, data-driven models of user behavior, and security of mobile and wearable devices. 

View Wang's full bio.

Schedule an interview

To secure a live or recorded interview with any of these experts, contact Bill Foy in the Media Relations office at 540-998-0288. 

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