Apple CEO Tim Cook 'encouraged' by President Trump's movement on 'Dreamers'

Sep 19, 2017 5

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Apple CEO Tim Cook said he is “encouraged” by President Donald Trump’s discussions with Democrats to protect the status of “Dreamers,” the thousands of young unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

“I think it’s really important for everybody to understand, these folks came to the country when they were very young,” Cook said on “Good Morning America.” “These kids, if you talk to them, they deeply love this country. They have great jobs. They pay taxes. These guys are our neighbors. They’re our coworkers.”

Cook spoke out in support of Dreamers, 250 of whom are Apple employees, earlier this month when the Trump administration announced its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

He said Tuesday that Apple will do “everything we can” to encourage Congress to make the bipartisan Dream Act — legislation that would offer a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children if they graduated high school or obtained a GED — permanent.

“We feel it’s essential that we not only allow them to stay in our country, but we welcome them; that we desire that they be here,” Cook said. “I hope everyone reaches out and meets some of the ‘Dreamers’ because it will really warm your heart in meeting them.”

‘Profound Day’

Apple will now allow iPhone users to update their devices to iOS 11, a development that will bring an augmented reality (AR) feature to hundreds of millions of Apple devices.

“This is huge because it’s the first time that hundreds of millions of customers will be able to use AR for the first time,” Cook said. “We’re bringing it to mainstream.”

The AR feature will allow users to overlay the virtual world on the physical world. For instance, according to Cook, someone in the market for a new car could go inside the car using AR from home rather than having to visit a car dealership showroom to see inside.

“It’s a fantastic way to shop. It’s a fantastic way to learn,” he said. “We’re taking the complex and making it simple. We want everybody to be able to use AR.”

Cook called the deployment Tuesday of AR to Apple users a “profound day.”

“The thing that’s very different about Apple is that in one day we can make AR available to hundreds of millions of people,” he said. “This is a day to remember.”

Cook made history last week when, 10 years after the first iPhone was introduced, he announced the release of iPhone X. Cook called the phone at its launch a “new generation of the iPhone and a huge step forward.”

Face ID will be used to unlock the iPhone X, which features an edge-to-edge screen and glass on both the front and back. Users will simply have to look at the phone to unlock it.

Cook reassured potential users that they do not need to be concerned about privacy with Face ID technology.

“Once you place your face in the phone, it’s in the phone. Apple doesn’t have it,” he said. “We’ve encrypted it on your device. You make the decisions about who has it, not us.”

“We believe that privacy is very important in this world that there are hackers everywhere trying to steal your information,” he continued. “We want it to be yours. It is not ours.”

The iPhone X, which has a case made of stainless steel, is priced at $999. Cook called it a “value price” when compared to the amount of technology included in the phone.

“When you look at it, the iPhone in particular has become so essential in our daily lives, people want it do more and more and more,” he said. “So, we’ve built more and more technologies into it to be able to do that.”

The iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch was held at the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California.

Cook said he “could feel” Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, in the theater with him during the launch because Jobs’ DNA is still the DNA of Apple.

“We don’t sit and think about, ‘What would Steve do?’ But, we think about the principles that Apple is based on,” he said. “A values-based company that is making insanely great products that are simple to use, where the technology takes the back seat, not the front seat.”

“The user experience is top for us,” he said. “We want users to be happy.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Is Debbie Gibson allergic to 'DWTS'? Lyme disease victim says, 'I don't do the spray tan because of the chemicals'

Sep 19, 2017 15

Debbie Gibson emotionally revealed to “Dancing with the Stars” viewers how Lyme disease had caused physical pain and made her a recluse.

Then, after performing a beautiful foxtrot on the Monday night season 25 premiere, she told FOX 411 that the ballroom is a minefield for her because of the illness.

“I have sensitivities to perfumes, colognes, hair spray, electromagnetics, smoke on the dance floor,” the 1980s singing sensation sighed.

“I don’t do the spray tan because of the chemicals. I have to be really careful. Food sensitivities and chemical sensitivities are really big in Lyme disease.”

Gibson told reporters that she can’t even show her friendship for veteran “DWTS” pro Cheryl Burke (who dances with football player Terrell Owens) because of symptoms: “I can’t hug Cheryl Burke because she wears so much perfume and we joke about it, I said, ‘Please, one day come in without perfume so I can give you a big squeeze.’ If I hug too many people with perfume my nervous system basically shuts down.”

The “Lost In Your Eyes” singer is seeing a chiropractic kinesiologist who treats her with “energetic medicine”; she also takes supplements.

Despite her disease, Gibson earned a score of 17 out of 30 for her foxtrot with partner Alan Bersten.

And she wasn’t the only “DWTS” celebrity overcoming obstacles. Paralympic swimmer Victoria Arlen, who recently learned to walk after spending nearly a decade paralyzed from the waist down, got a score of 19 with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

Arlen touched viewers in her TV rehearsal footage by telling Val, “If I fall, I apologize.”

Ex-“Malcolm in the Middle” star Frankie Muniz also has had a hard time, telling pro Witney Carson that he broke his back and ribs while racing cars. But “DWTS” judges rewarded Muniz for a foxtrot performance Carrie Ann Inaba found “endearing,” earning 19 points.

It was incredible YouTube violinist Lindsey Sterling and her partner Mark Ballas and “Hamilton” singer/actor Jordan Fisher (with Lindsay Arnold), however, who tied for first place on Monday night with scores of 22.

Sterling told FOX 411 after the show, “It was so fun. The choreography was fast, it was sharp and we feel like we really nailed it. It’s this joy you can’t describe. It’s electric; it’s exciting.”

Nick Lachey, who earned 18, and his wife Vanessa Lachey, who got 21 points, competed against each other on the premiere. Vanessa cried on camera after getting her score and explained to FOX 411 afterwards with partner Maks Chmerkovskiy that her emotion flowed because, “We worked so hard for so long and it all came to fruition.”

Married “Shark Tank” businesswoman Barbara Corcoran provided comic relief by flirting with partner Keo Motsepe on camera, even putting her hand a little too far up his leg!

She insisted to reporters later with tongue firmly in cheek, “There was no crotch grab. I just happened to land my hand on that very important part.”

But Corcoran, whose score of 14 out of 30 was the night’s lowest, told FOX 411 of her salsa, “It wasn’t as good as I had hoped but I enjoyed every little speck of it. It was such a gift to be here.”

Wrestler Nikki Bella received 20 points from judges for tango and commented to reporters after body-slamming partner Artem Chigvintsev during the dance, “I felt really strong tonight.”

“Property Brothers” star Drew Scott found the experience exhilarating and he and pro Emma Slater were satisfied with his score of 16.

Former NBA coach and player Derek Fisher scooped up 18 points guided by Sharna Burgess; former “Pretty Little Liars” actress Sasha Pieterse, whose parents were ballroom dancers, cha-cha-ed with partner Gleb Savchenko to a score of 18; and Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke received 15 for the second lowest ranking, just above Corcoran.

The whole gang will be back again next week, when “DWTS” will be a two-night double elimination spectacular. 

Media mob savages Sean Spicer for an Emmy Joke he saw as harmless fun

Sep 19, 2017 11

There’s little shock in how the Emmys turned into another Trump-bashing festival. Yawn.

What is surprising is how media and political insiders are absolutely pummeling Sean Spicer for a joking bit that lasted less than a minute.

In case you missed it, Spicer wheeled out a White House podium and declared that “this will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period. Both in person and around the world.”

Journalists and other critics immediately tarred and feathered Spicer for being willing to laugh at himself. He was being “normalized,” they cried, and this would not do. A Twitter mob savaged him.

Spicer was mocking his first full day in office, when he scolded the press after the president sent him out to dispute stories that his inaugural crowd was smaller than Barack Obama’s in 2009.

“It’s a very simple thing,” Spicer told me last night after returning from Los Angeles. “It was a funny skit, it poked fun at me, and that’s it. There’s no deeper, esoteric meaning like I’ve heard from the pundits.”

The former spokesman said he was not conceding some moral failing in telling the New York Times that he had regrets about disputing the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd to reporters on Jan. 21. “I look at every event, good or bad, and say what could I have done better? I should have prepared more. There are certain facts I should have double-checked.” 

As for the post-Emmy attacks, Spicer told me: “There are a lot of people, no matter what you do or say, who are going to be haters. That’s their right. It’s a free country.”

What happened on that day was hardly Spicer’s finest hour. And he was overly harsh in ripping the press.

But for that and the rest of his tenure, many pundits want him to wear a scarlet letter forever and not show his face in public.

“Don’t Make This Guy a Folk Hero,” said the Daily Beast. Slate’s Jamelle Bouie tweeted, “The degree to which Sean Spicer has faced no consequences is a glimpse into the post-Trump future.” CNN’s Chris Cillizza said Spicer had been “willfully subverting the facts” and the Emmys cameo was “a validation that purposely misleading on the taxpayer’s dime is a-OK.” Actor Zach Braff declared him “evil.”

A journalism professor named Seth Abramson wrote: “When U.S. history records the crimes of this administration—and the names of its enablers—Sean Spicer on the Emmys will be a VERY bad look.”

So here’s the thing: It’s fine to criticize Spicer’s tenure as Trump’s spokesman. He obviously made some mistakes. He also attracted a sizable daytime audience by driving the president’s message.

The notion that he was a paid liar who should be shunned by polite society reflects a stunning double standard. Virtually every White House press secretary in recent decades has at times misled the press, in some cases through untruths and in others through omission, at the behest of the boss.

To single out Spicer suggests to me a fury at Trump that clouds good judgment, and an attempt at payback by some journalists he tangled with or alienated.

Spicer told a joke about crowd size, not war and peace, on an awards show. Have his detractors lost any semblance of a sense of humor?

Virtually every Hollywood awards show now routinely beats up on the president because that’s deemed the cool thing to do. If Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin want to call the president “a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot,” I’m sure it pleased their liberal friends.

And there was no doubt that Stephen Colbert would go there, since slamming Trump helped him take the “Late Show” from last to first place and that’s become his calling card. The Emmy folks knew what they were getting. It was Colbert who thought up the Spicer bit.

Many of Barack Obama’s top aides quickly became media commentators. Are the denizens of the media and social media world now arguing that any ex-Trump aide must be banished from the public square? 

Julie Andrews, cast mates share 'Sound of Music' facts from behind the scenes: 'The town didn't want us there'

Sep 19, 2017 16

“The Sound of Music” is still recognized as a beloved Hollywood musical that also happens to be the third-highest grossing film of all time behind “Star Wars” and “Gone With the Wind.” However, the 1965 classic was originally plagued with problems.

The movie, which tells the real-life story of the Von Trapp family and their life just before World War II, wasn’t met with open arms when production began in Salzburg, Austria.

JULIE ANDREWS TALKS ‘MARY POPPINS RETURNS’

“The town didn’t want us there,” Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) told Closer Weekly on the country’s citizens being outspoken on not wanting the filmmakers there because of the story’s political message. “They provided no cooperation whatsoever.”

The 67-year-old even admitted a local marionette theater refused to let their puppets be used in “The Lonely Goatherd” scene.

“They said, ‘This is a classy operation we do here,’” he recalled. “We don’t want them in some tacky Hollywood movie.’ So the puppets we used had to be made.”

Another unwanted complication that occurred during filming was tackling the unpredictable Austrian weather.

“We had what was on record as the worst spring weather [Salzburg] had in 50 years,” he explained. “It rained almost every single day. In an awful lot of the shots where it looks sunny, it wasn’t at all. They had to blast a lot of huge arc lights to try to make it look like the sun was shining.”

The poor weather pushed back filming so much the child actors began to have growth spurts.

“I was 7, and I lost all four of my teeth across the bottom,” Debbie Turner (Marta) told the magazine. “Then I lost all four across the top so I had a retainer-type thing that had fake teeth on it!”

Hammond, who was 14 and 5-foot-3-inches at the start of filming, also shot up 6 inches taller, which resulted in constant costume changes.

“The wardrobe man would joke to my mother and say, ‘Why don’t you just hit him over the head so he stops growing?’” said Hammond. “I started with great big lifts in my shoes, but then they took them out, and I eventually had to stand barefoot because I got to be much taller than Charmian Carr (Liesel).”

Hammond and Turner weren’t the only ones experiencing growing pains. Closer Weekly added Kym Karath (Gretl) grew too heavy to carry for one scene so a stunt double was used.

But that wasn’t the only problem Karath faced. In the river scene in which the Von Trapps all fall into a lake, she suddenly sank to the bottom.

“It was 10 seconds before anybody realized there were only six kids in the boat, not seven,” said Hammond. “All those crew guys went rushing into the lake and pulled Kym up, and she promptly threw up all over Heather Menzies (Louisa)!”

Julia Andrews, who starred as Maria, also revealed the iconic scene where she sings among the Austrian mountains wasn’t easy to create and required multiple takes before cameras finally captured the magical shot.

“A giant helicopter came at me sideways with a very brave cameraman hanging out [its] side,” said the 81-year-old. “Every time he went around me, the downdraft from the jets would fling me down into the grass.”

And while Andrews fully embraced her role, Christopher Plummer, who starred as Captain von Trapp, nearly turned down the opportunity.

“He didn’t think the role was very interesting,” said Barry Monush, author of “The Sound of Music FAQ.” “He wanted them to build a more intriguing character.”

Despite all the trouble “The Sound of Music” brought during production, the musical only brought the cast closer. They still stay in touch to this day.

“It took nine months to film the movie in its entirety, and we had a lot of interaction…” said Karath. “We’re on email or the telephone all the time. We’re not kidding about it being a second family.”

Doris Day, 95, still devoted to rescuing animals and music, says business manager

Sep 19, 2017 10

When Doris Day turned 95 on April 3, many fans wondered what America’s Sweetheart has been up to since she left behind Hollywood in 1973. However, the beloved screen star has been keeping busy pursuing her lifelong passion.

“When she left Los Angeles, she moved to Carmel. The main reason was she wanted to focus on animal rescue,” Day’s business manager and close friend Bob Bashara told Fox News. “She was already rescuing animals in Beverly Hills.

“They called her the Dog Catcher of Beverly Hills because she’d be on her bike riding around Beverly Hills and if she saw a stray, she would try to find it a home. And if she couldn’t, she’d take it home and get it rehabilitated. But she would keep it herself a lot of times. But she really couldn’t do what she wanted to do concerning animal welfare in Beverly Hills.”

Day, who first got her start as a big band singer, made her film debut in 1948 with “Romance On the High Seas,” which led to numerous popular rom-coms highlighting her signature sunny serenades.

The beloved actress also became a pop star with the help of musical hits, such as 1953’s “Secret Love” and 1956’s “Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera).”

However, when her third husband, film producer Martin Melcher, died in 1968, Day eventually withdrew from the public eye and completely devoted herself to animal-rights work. Bashara claimed those who knew Day best wouldn’t be surprise by her decision. In fact, Day’s determination to rescue animals started long before she found fame.

Day, a child dancer in her native Cincinnati, had her career interrupted in 1937 at age 14 when a train struck a car she was riding in with friends. Her right leg was completely shattered and she was in a cast for nearly two years.

According to Bashara, while Day took singing lessons to occupy her time, she found comfort in her dog Tiny, who never left her side. 

“Unfortunately, the dog ran out to the street and was killed,” explained Bashara. “Doris believed it was important for people to keep their pets on a leash. She always had an interest in animals since then. Even at the height of her career, she was known for picking up dogs off set.”

Day’s love for animals almost cost her the chance to work with filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock in 1956’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” opposite James Stewart.

“They went to Morocco and she didn’t like how the animals were being treated [on set],” said Bashara. “She told Alfred Hitchcock if they didn’t treat the animals properly, she wasn’t going to continue with the film. So they made sure the animals were cared for. It was always on her mind.”

That same year, Day made a film called “Julie,” which was filmed in Carmel, a beach city in California that was miles away from Hollywood. Day fell in love with the town and when she retired, Carmel became home.

“She found a piece a property in Carmel Valley and she found a home there that she renovated and restructured to a facility where she could house animals,” said Bashara. “She was out picking up animals, people were leaving them at the door. If an animal needed to be adopted, she would go to the homes first and made sure it was a good environment for the animal before she would let the people have it.”

In 1978 Day formed the Doris Day Pet Foundation, which kept her busy finding loving homes for animals in need. She then formed the non-profit organization Doris Day Animal League to tackle animal overpopulation. Bashara said it’s still in operation today and has merged with the Humane Society of the United States.

“She lives in California on the same property,” he said. “She can’t really go out and rescue animals. But people still leave them on the doorsteps. Or if a feral cat wanders on the property, she’s bound to take it in and care for it. Someone even left an animal outside her gate in a box because they knew she would care for it. She still looks for organizations that her foundation can give money to and rescue animals.”

Still, Day hasn’t forgotten her fans. Bashara added the star gets hundreds of letters a month and she answers them all.

“A few years ago, we had a big birthday party for her and about 200 fans came to dinner,” said Bashara. “Even though she doesn’t really make public appearances very often, she did that night. She made sure to greet everyone who attended.

“She still has a close circle of friends who visit her. She loves go out to the ocean… All those years in the public eye, she’s very happy with her beautiful property, being with good friends, and her animals. And at 95, she’s in pretty good health.”

Over the years, Day has been asked to come out of retirement and scripts have even come her way. And while she’s not interested in returning to the spotlight, Day hasn’t completely given up on her love for music.

“She loves singing,” insisted Bashara. “She sings around the house a lot and her voice is terrific. We keep telling her she could record again if she wanted to. But she’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m rusty.”

And Day continues to have fond memories of one particular co-star.

“She and Rock Hudson were very, very good friends,” said Bashara. “He used to come visit her at her Malibu house. They loved working together. They were great friends until the day he died.”

The screen idol died in 1985 at age 59 from AIDS.

But despite her lasting success, Day is perfectly content focusing on rescuing animals and has zero plans to slow down.

“She’s said this before… she never really wanted to be a movie star,” said Bashara. “She wanted to get married, have a family… She loves living the simple life. I don’t think she was ever really interested in the celebrity side of it. She wanted to work with animals and she wanted to do that in a more private setting.”

Obama cashes in on Wall Street appearances, report says

Sep 19, 2017 10

Former President Barack Obama has been a busy man.

Obama, last month, addressed clients of Northern Trust Corp. in New York to a tune of $400,000, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the appearance.

The report said Obama, last week, also met with the private equity giant the Carlyle Group—which was unreported– and spoke about his time as president. He is reportedly due to deliver a keynote at a Cantor Fitzgerald health-care conference.

Ken Lewis, a spokesman for Obama, told Bloomberg that he gives speeches that are “true to his values.”

“His paid speeches in part have allowed President Obama to contribute $2 million to Chicago programs offering job training and employment opportunities to low-income youth,” he said.

Fox Business reported in April about Obama’s upcoming speeches. Another spokesman told FBN that Obama—as a candidate—pulled in more money than any candidate in history, and went on to “implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR.”

In 2009, Obama famously lashed out at bankers, calling them “fat cats” who don’t get it.

“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on wall Street,” he told “60 Minutes “They’re still puzzled why is it that people are mad at the banks. Well, let’s see,” he said. “You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in — in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we’ve got 10 percent unemployment.”

The Wall Street Journal at the time described the relationship between the White House and Wall Street as “frosty from the start.”

Sean Coffey, a Democratic donor, told Bloomberg, “Not everyone’s going to be a Jimmy Carter, who does purely good works after he gets out. “I don’t think getting any grief for doing this is going to bother him at all.”

Florida city settles Zombicon shooting death suit for $40K

Sep 19, 2017 8

A Florida city has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit for a mass-shooting at a Zombie-themed festival.

The News-Press reports that the Fort Myers City Council passed the settlement for 20-year-old Expavious Taylor’s estate without comment Monday.

Zombicon was one of the most popular celebrations in southwest Florida, attracting about 20,000 people in October 2015. The event was winding down when someone started shooting into the downtown crowd. No arrests have been made.

Earlier this year, two men who were wounded during the shooting were awarded $7,499 each. Officials say there are two more personal injury lawsuits still in litigation, as well as a federal lawsuit involving insurance.

The city cut ties with Zombicon organizers shortly after the shooting, ending the event’s nine-year run.

___

Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com

For a new Key West resident, Irma was her welcome-to-town

Sep 19, 2017 10

Prudence Duchene will never forget the day she moved to Key West.

It was Aug. 30 — the day a storm brewing in the Atlantic got named Irma.

Duchene, 22, was actually waiting to board her Florida-bound flight from Albany International Airport when she saw the news that the newly named tropical storm was headed toward the Keys. She got on the plane, not only moving to Florida as a powerful hurricane loomed but staying in Key West to ride out the storm.

She survived, shaken but fine. And, as she said, “with a fantastic story to tell.”

“I was interviewing for jobs and people kept asking me what I was going to do about the storm,” Duchene said. “I kept telling them it would be all right, that it was no big deal. And a couple days later, I watched the 11 o’clock advisory and started to wig out. I texted all my friends and said ‘I love you’ because I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Duchene spent three days inside the Key West Courthouse, living off a slew of food that was cooked ahead of time. She is now getting by with the help of generators. Since Irma passed, Duchene has already secured a job in resort management and has been busy in recent days working with friends to aid those in the Keys who need help.

Duchene said one radio station in the Keys kept broadcasting during the storm, so she had some idea of Irma’s wrath. She couldn’t call home for days after the storm passed, not until she found a bike shop with a working land line — and waited an hour in line for her chance at a 30-second phone call to let her family know she was fine. Irma was long gone before she understood the full extent of what the storm did in the Caribbean and in Florida.

“There are (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) wrappers all over parking lots down here now,” Duchene said. “This is how people are living down here. People waited in line four hours for gas. It’s been a very kind of primitive deal. There are a lot of people who are way worse off than we are, but it’s also been a very interesting thing to be a part of.”

Duchene is from the tiny Adirondack Mountain town of Long Lake, New York, about a two-hour drive north of Albany. It’s a very remote place where hurricanes aren’t exactly a concern. Snowstorms and wind chill, yes. Winds topping 100 mph and storm surge, no.

Much of the work in the Adirondacks is seasonal, and with summer ending the flow of tourist dollars into the local economies tends to slow significantly. That’s why Duchene decided to give Key West a try, never thinking she would be immediately greeted by a storm that would leave such a massive impact on her new home.

“The wind was blowing so hard it sounded like thunder,” Duchene said. “So next time, if it’s a Category 4 or something, we’ll get the heck out. I’m thankful that we’re fine, but it’s dangerous.”

Welcome to the new FoxNews.com

Sep 19, 2017 11

Welcome to the new FoxNews.com. We’ve given ourselves a refresh, the first in years. All the same content you know and love is still here. It just looks a little different – and, we think, better. So here’s what’s new:

  • It’s now easy to watch Fox News Channel from the homepage. If you want to watch at length, you’ll be prompted to enter your cable provider’s credentials.
  • We’ve slashed the time it takes to load a page – on all devices – so you can get your news faster.
  • The design of the site is “fully responsive” to any size of screen – from mobile devices to tablets and desktops.
  • We’ve vastly improved the reading experience on our article pages, which now feature many more photos, in all shapes and sizes. We’ve even switched to more readable character fonts.
  • There’s more content on our homepage, including a “Trending Topics” feature, which provides a quick snapshot of the big stories of the moment.
  • Overall, the new site provides a more engaging and image-rich viewing experience.

As we said, the same great stories are here. We are grateful for the loyalty of our digital audience – one of the largest in news. These improvements will only serve our audience better.

Please send us your feedback. Or make some remarks in the comments field below. We will be reading them carefully.

Many thanks for visiting, from the team at Fox News Digital.

Harvard alumni calling to rescind fellowship invitations to Spicer and Lewandowski

Sep 19, 2017 16

More than 600 Harvard University alumni have signed a letter calling to rescind fellowship invitations to Corey Lewandowski and Sean Spicer.

The letter claims giving fellowships to both former aides of President Trump provides “intellectual and moral legitimacy” to those who have “done much to degrade public discourse in this country, re-ignite white nationalism, and further reactionary policies that harm millions.”

Talia B. Lavin, a Harvard graduate and organizer of the petition, told the Harvard Crimson that inviting the former Trump aides reflect poorly on alumni.

“I think we should have a voice, and an extra responsibility to raise our voices and say, ‘You know, this is not an action that is fitting of the University that I got my degree from, and that I chose,’” she said. “Harvard’s motto is Veritas. You cannot hold that up and invite Sean Spicer, an incompetent liar.”

The call to drop both Spicer and Lewandowski comes following the controversy of inviting convicted leaker Chelsea Manning to become a visiting fellow at Harvard. The invitation was promptly rescinded last week after the complaints.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell announced his resignation as a senior fellow at Harvard on Thursday in protest of inviting Manning to become a fellow, Fox News reported. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, cancelled his appearance, saying Manning is an “American traitor”.

Manning said on Sunday that the decision to cancel the invitation proves the U.S. is a “police state”, Fox News reported.

“I’m not ashamed of being disinvited,” she added. “I view that just as much of an honored distinction as the fellowship itself.”

The organizers of the petition to withdraw invitations to Spicer and Lewandowski cite Manning’s case as why the two aides should not be fellows at Harvard.

“When they rescinded Chelsea Manning’s fellowship they admitted that the title of visiting fellow conveys a certain imprimatur of legitimacy. So they’re tacitly granting the same imprimatur of legitimacy to Spicer and Lewandowski, and I just don’t think that’s acceptable,” Lavin told the Crimson.

Paul B. VanKoughnett, another organizer of the petition, said they fear the university will normalize “Trumpist ideas”.

“There’s this idea … that it’s just speech, just people talking, and they can disagree at the end of the day, and whatever. But it actually has a real-world effect, and that’s what we’re worried about,” he said, according to the student publication.

“We’re worried that the further normalization of these men and of Trumpist ideas are going to have awful material effects on people in the real world.”