Hawking: 'I May Not Be Welcome' in US Under Trump
Acclaimed physicist notes his criticism of president's environmental policy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2017 10:47 AM CDT
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Britain's Stephen Hawking delivers a keynote speech as he receives the Honorary Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony in London on March 6, 2017.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Newser) – Stephen Hawking is afraid he might be persona non grata in America, reports the Guardian, due to the Trump administration's views on the environment and British cosmologist's past criticism of those views. In a conversation Monday with ITV's Good Morning Britain, Hawking said the US has swung "to a right-wing, more authoritarian approach," including the new government's January freeze on EPA hiring and information dissemination—which Hawking roundly denounced, per CNBC. "I would like to visit again and to talk to other scientists, but I fear that I may not be welcome," he says. He adds President Trump should dump EPA chief Scott Pruitt, noted for his skepticism toward climate change, which Hawking calls "one of the great dangers" the world is dealing with.

The 75-year-old calls the US "a place I like and admire in many ways," but he isn't quite as complimentary about voters who put Trump into office, calling them "neither liberal nor that well informed." He also revealed what may be a bit of a feminist bent, lauding the rise of women around the world, like Angela Merkel and Theresa May, to top political positions, calling it a "seismic shift." "I welcome these signs of women’s liberation," he said. As for Britain's upcoming break from the EU, Hawking thinks the UK should resist a "hard Brexit" and keep close ties to both Europe and China. A final reveal in the interview: Hawking says Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has offered him a seat on his spaceship when it launches into the cosmos, the Independent reports. "I thought no one would take me," Hawking said.

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