Sean Spicer Hits Harvard University to Give Talks

Sean Spicer - May 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. - Getty-H 2017
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The former White House press secretary said he talked about working for Trump and faced a bunch of tough-but-fair questions from students.

It was back to school for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who gave about a dozen talks this week at Harvard University as part of a visiting fellowship at the Kennedy School's Institute of Politics.

Spicer, who chatted with The Hollywood Reporter as he headed to Boston's Logan Airport, said he spoke to undergraduate students, graduate students, business school students and law school students between Tuesday and Thursday.

The events were heavy on Q&A's with students, and Spicer said the bulk of the questions were about media relations, campaign politics and the state of the Republican Party.

Spicer said there was "just a lot of intrigue as far what it was like" to work in the White House. He said he got "very smart, very well-thought-out questions."

Spicer described the students at Harvard as "very respectful" and "very inquisitive." "They get a lot of top-notch folks here, and they really take advantage of it," he said.

But, given Spicer is something of a controversial figure, he said he "absolutely" got tough, critical questions from students. "There was a lot of critical questions," he said. "I think that was the whole point of it. To let people ask tough questions to gain an understanding into what the experience was like."

On Wednesday morning, the Institute of Politics tweeted a picture of Spicer having breakfast with students. Needless to say, the tweet received a heavy dose of snarky responses. 

One Kennedy School student wrote on Twitter that she was one of the 100-plus people in the audience for one of Spicer's lectures on Thursday. She entertained the idea of live-tweeting the speech, but then wrote that "Sean Spicer’s staff (?) asked to keep this off the record."

The Kennedy School Institute of Politics attracted some criticism last month for revoking a visiting fellowship offer to Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified government secrets. Other fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year include former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, himself a political lightning rod; former Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook; and MSNBC Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Since leaving the White House and signing with Worldwide Speakers Group, Spicer estimated that he's done about five corporate speaking events and said he has gigs booked through March. "It's really enjoyable," he said. "I love it."

While he's been in talks about television projects and opportunities, Spicer said Thursday that there's nothing further to announce yet.