On Monday, British scientist Stephen Hawking, widely regarded as a highly intelligent man, made a rather ignorant statement when speaking with Piers Morgan ITV’s Good Morning Britain, saying he feared he “would not be welcome” in the United States now that Donald Trump is President.
Hawking started by stating:
Trump was elected by people who felt disenfranchised by a governing elite in a revolt against globalization.His priority will be to satisfy an electorate who are neither liberal nor well-informed. We have already seen this in the promise to build a wall along the Mexican border and the sanctioning of two oil pipelines and the appointment of the Environment Protection Agency of Scott Pruitt. A man who does not believe carbon dioxide causes climate change.
Asked by Morgan if the worldwide reaction to Trump’s election was a bit hysterical, Hawking replied:
The reaction to the election of Donald Trump may have been overdone, but it represents a definite swing to a more right-wing authoritarian approach. There was reported to be a memo that government scientists must get White House approval for any announcements; a similar ruling in Canada had a chilling effect on scientists there. Everyday life in the United States continues much the same. I have many friends and colleagues there, and it is still a place I like and admire in many ways, but I fear that I may not be welcome.
Hawking was referring to a memo sent only days after Trump’s inauguration by Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) that stated, “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”
That order was rescinded the next day.
Last May, Hawking referred to Trump as "a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator."
Video of Hawking and Morgan below: