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Students say lecturer Carlos E. Díaz Rosillo, who teaches the popular class Government 1359: “The Road to the White House,” has largely hidden his political leanings during his classes, even though it was recently made public that Rosillo will advise President-elect Donald Trump during his transition to the presidency.
Some emphasized that, despite his personal political beliefs, Díaz Rosillo has so far taught the course—which, in part, covered Trump’s electoral success in depth—without visible partisanship.
“I think, personally, he had an opinion, but he made sure to stray away from giving his personal opinion,” said Charlie S. Krumholz ’18, a student in Government 1359. “I don’t think there’s been any bias in the teaching at all.”
Abby Bloomfield ’20, also enrolled in Díaz Rosillo’s class, agreed.
“I also think that his political affiliations have not really impacted the way his class is taught,” she said. “I did not know for at least the first half of the class that he was a Trump supporter.”
Díaz Rosillo, who declined to comment for this article, will serve as Trump’s “Executive Authority Adviser” for the president-elect’s “Policy Implementation” team, Politico reported Friday. Since Trump’s unexpected victory early Wednesday morning, the President-elect’s transition team has worked to assemble his new administration.
Also on the policy team, according to a leaked document obtained by Politico, is Ado Machida, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, and Andrew Bremberg, an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Krumholz said he believed Díaz Rosillo’s appointment was well-deserved. He added that he thought Díaz Rosillo was one of the only professors at Harvard to accurately predict Trump’s chances in the election.
“I don’t think it’s partisanship, is necessarily why he was appointed,” Krumholz said. “I think he was literally somebody who was very good at what he did, he was the only person right.”
Devontae A. Freeland ’19, a resident of Dunster House who knows Díaz Rosillo in his capacity as Dunster’s resident dean, said he was also “not surprised” by Díaz Rosillo’s selection. He said he had known for a while that Díaz Rosillo supported Trump.
Freeland noted, however, that he wanted to consider the “implications” of Díaz Rosillo’s involvement with the Trump administration given how “viscerally upset” many on campus were by Trump’s election. He said it was hard to reconcile students’ feelings with the work Díaz Rosillo must now perform for the Trump administration.
“Obviously Carlos isn’t doing this work on behalf of Harvard University,” Freeland said. “It’s still hard to know that Harvard is nonetheless being brought into that network.”
Bloomfield took a slightly different view. Though she identified herself as a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and said she had been “very upset” by the election results, she expressed enthusiasm over Díaz Rosillo’s appointment to the transition team.
She said that she—along with a handful of other students in Government 1359, all Clinton supporters—recently invited Díaz Rosillo to a student-faculty dinner. During the meal, she said, Díaz Rosillo answered their questions about his new role.
“Since the election, I’ve listened a lot more to people, both professors and my peers, to try to understand their point of view,” Bloomfield said. “I’m glad that we go to a school that has intellectual diversity and has faculty members all over the political spectrum, I think that’s really meaningful to me as a student.”
At the close of Díaz Rosillo’s class Monday night, Bloomfield and a few of the students who attended the faculty dinner approached the lecturer’s podium and asked Díaz Rosillo if they could take a picture with him. Smiling, he agreed.
—Staff writer Mia C. Karr contributed reporting for this story.
—Staff writer Hannah Natanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @hannah_natanson.
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