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Stephen Hawking: I may not be welcome in the US

The British physicist Stephen Hawking fears he will not be welcome in the United States because of his criticism of how President Donald Trump is treating the country's scientists.

Hawking made his comments in a recorded interview for ITV's "Good Morning Britain."

"Trump was elected by people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite and a revolt against globalization. His priority will be to satisfy this electorate who are neither liberal nor that well informed," he said.

"The reaction to the election of Donald Trump may have been overdone, but it represents a definite swing to a right-wing, more authoritarian approach."

Stephen Hawking in London in 2015.
Adrian Dennis | AFP | Getty Images
Stephen Hawking in London in 2015.

The theoretical physicist, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963, criticized how the Trump administration is treating scientists working for the government. In January, employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture received orders to remove web pages and to limit how they communicated with the public.

"There was reported to be a memo that government scientists must get White House approval for any announcements," he said.

"A similar ruling in Canada had a chilling effect on science there," Hawking added, referring to the restrictions placed in 2006 by Conservative former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on scientists talking to the press about their work.

"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."

Asked what message he would like "Good Morning Britain" host Piers Morgan to deliver to the president the next time they meet, Hawking said Scott Pruitt should be replaced as EPA administrator, adding that climate change is one of the great dangers the world faces.

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