Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Stephen Hawking Calls Donald Trump a ‘Demagogue’
Stephen Hawking, the great explainer of cosmic mysteries, is also known for sharing his wisdom on more earthly matters. He has weighed in on climate change (bold action is needed), boycotting Israel (he favored it), and the departure of Zayn Malik from the boy band One Direction (he could still be in the band in a parallel universe).
But on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” on Tuesday, Mr. Hawking, a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, acknowledged a mystery that he has found impenetrable.
Asked to explain the political ascendance of Donald J. Trump, he said simply, “I can’t.”
“He is a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator,” he said in prerecorded remarks.
A message left with the Trump campaign on Tuesday was not immediately returned. The subject did not come up at a news conference that the Republican presidential candidate held in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Dr. Hawking may be the smartest person to admit being baffled by Mr. Trump’s unlikely path to the presumptive party nomination, but he is certainly not the first. Last year, pundits from across the American political spectrum pegged Mr. Trump’s chances at slim to none.
At another point on “Good Morning Britain,” Dr. Hawking, who is British, weighed in on the contentious debateover whether the country should remain in the European Union, a process often referred to as Brexit.
“Gone are the days when we could stand on our own, against the world,” he said. “We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security and our trade. The possibility of our leaving the E.U. has already led to a sharp fall in the pound, because the markets judge that it will damage our economy.”
Those who favor leaving argue that the country’s membership in the bloc has diminished British influence and sovereignty. A referendum is scheduled for June 23.
Dr. Hawking, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has also been a bullish advocate for people with disabilities, a group that has been critical of Mr. Trump.
During a campaign event in November, the candidate appeared to mock a reporter for The New York Times, who has a physical disability called arthrogryposis, which restricts the functioning of his joints.
“Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,” Mr. Trump said, before jerking his arms around.
Responding to criticism over the comments, Mr. Trump denied that he had intended to mock the reporter.
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