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Harvard government lecturer and Dunster House resident dean Carlos E. Diaz Rosillo has accepted a position in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration and will not teach at the College this semester.
Diaz Rosillo, who taught the popular class Government 1359: “The Road to the White House” in the fall, will serve as the “Director of Policy and Interagency Coordination” in the “Office of the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy,” according to an announcement released by Trump’s transition team in early January.
“I’m excited and I’m honored that I’ve been asked to join the administration,” Diaz Rosillo said. “I’ve been studying, reading, teaching, and writing about the American presidency, so it’s a great opportunity to apply what I’ve been doing for decades.”
In his new role, Diaz Rosillo said he will focus on policy execution, ensuring the new administration’s policies are implemented “the way they’re supposed to be implemented.” For now, he will concentrate mainly on domestic and economic policy, he said.
“Diaz-Rosillo [sic] brings a wealth of experience on presidential power, administrative action, executive leadership and the policymaking and executive action process to this key role,” the transition team’s announcement reads.
Diaz Rosillo served on Trump’s transition team, aiding the President-elect as an “Executive Authority Adviser,” though his students in Government 1359 said his political leanings were not apparent during the course.
Diaz Rosillo said his colleagues in the Government department have been “very supportive and very gracious” about his decision to work for Trump. He said he wished more Harvard faculty would consider taking positions in the new administration.
“I think if you care deeply about your country, you have an obligation to use your talents to help make government better,” he said. “I respect it if you don’t want to serve, that’s your choice and I completely respect it.”
“I think I have an obligation to help the administration be the best it can be,” he added.
Diaz Rosillo is formally resigning his position at Harvard to focus on his new job, and will move to Washington, D.C. in coming weeks. He said he is unsure whether he will return to the College in the long run, and added he will “absolutely” miss teaching.
“The Government department is very sorry to see him leave Harvard, and to lose his excellent course on the presidency,” Government professor and department chair Jennifer L. Hochschild wrote in an emailed statement .
Looking to the future, Diaz Rosillo said he thinks his biggest challenge will be adapting to a “brand new environment,” though he said he considers both Harvard and the White House “awesome.”
While Harvard professors have frequently worked with presidents and presidential candidates in the past, few have so far joined Trump’s team. After Trump’s victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Nov. 9, students and professors alike expressed shock and concern over the election results.
Other Harvard affiliates named to positions in Trump’s administration include School of Public Health graduate Katy F. Talento, who will work in healthcare policy, and Zina G. Bash ’04, a College and Law School alumnus who will focus on regulatory reform and legal and immigration policy. Jared C. Kushner ’03, Trump’s son-in-law, was recently named a senior White House adviser.
—Staff writer Hannah Natanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @hannah_natanson.
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