Former Delaware Governor and U.S. Representative Mike Castle ’61 joined members of the Hamilton community for a discussion about the recent election and American politics in general on January 19. A longtime Republican, he answered questions from alumni, students, and parents, shedding light on current issues from the perspective of an experienced politician.
As the event took place on the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Castle began the discussion by sharing some of his personal impressions of the president-elect.
“We have been together in politics, one way or another, both the time I was governor and when I was in Congress,” he said. “Every now and then we’d even ride the train together or whatever it may be, going back and forth to Washington. We’re in opposite political parties, so I can’t say that we ever supported each other much — but I did know him well and enjoyed Joe. He’s a decent human being.”
Several questions from attendees revolved around the Republican Party, specifically how it might proceed following President Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. Castle, a self-described “moderate Republican,” appeared somewhat disillusioned with Trump’s influence on the party.
“Unfortunately, [Trump] antagonized people on a pretty regular basis ... and I’m not sure that wasn’t harmful to him and perhaps to the Republican Party,” Castle explained. “So I wouldn’t be that upset if he decides to bow out at this point.”
From there, the conversation shifted to another recent event: President Trump’s second impeachment and the likelihood that he’ll be convicted by the Senate. Castle seemed skeptical of this outcome. “I think that Joe Biden himself might say ‘enough’s enough’ — let’s just move forward on my agenda, let’s just move forward on the things we need to do to make our country stronger and better,” he said.
In a similar vein, Castle expressed his disapproval of the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, also making clear his position on the results of last November’s presidential election. “I upheld the election from the beginning,” he stated. “All that was nonsense.”
Taking things in a different direction, a recent Hamilton graduate asked what advice Castle has for younger people interested in pursuing a career in politics. Castle recalled how he rose gradually up from state representative to governor, stressing that the process was, for him, “an evolution.”
“I think the best thing a young person from Hamilton can do ... is to get involved with either a political party or with a political candidate,” Castle said. “I don’t know that Young Republicans or Young Democrats are active in various states, but that’s another way of doing it. Getting involved with somebody who’s been around and knows what they’re doing is absolutely the right step to take.”