- The Harvard Crimson published an op-ed on Thursday criticizing former White House press secretary Sean Spicer for putting all of his events during his Visiting Fellowship off the record. Some of Spicer’s comments from the closed-door events have been leaked by students who attended them.
Harvard University’s student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, criticized former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday for his reclusive tenure as the Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, during which all 11 events were off the record and not open to the general public.
In an op-ed by published on Thursday, Daniel C. Drabik, a student at the Kennedy School who is studying public administration, pointed out that Spicer’s fellowship was only accessible to a select few students, faculty, and other fellows, often in limited settings in which none of his comments were allowed to be published.
Drabik went on to directly challenge the position of Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf, who stated that controversial speakers were essential for education at the school of government.
“Hearing a very wide range of views, regardless of what members of our community think about the people offering those views, is fundamental to the learning process at the Kennedy School,” Elmendorf stated in a memo to the student body in which he defended his decision to rescind a fellowship invitation to former Army Private Chelsea Manning.
Drabik wrote in the Crimson that the decision to allow Spicer to hold all of his events in “secret” was antithetical to Elmendorf’s statement.
Despite the events being off the record, several of Spicer’s comments have been leaked to HuffPost. Harvard students who attended his events noted that Spicer answered most questions with many of the same talking points he used during his tenure at the White House, and often referred back to common themes like the 2012 attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
In responding to why he allegedly lied during press conferences, Spicer reportedly said that because he was in the service of the president, he had to say what President Donald Trump wanted him to say. Students also said he felt that Trump was being held to an unfairly high standard by the media. Spicer also reportedly said he thought that White House press briefings were pointless, but that he regrets a lot of things that he has done and apologizes for them.