Sean Spicer and Chelsea Manning Join Harvard as Visiting Fellows

Mr. Spicer and Ms. Manning will be part of a fellowship class that reads like a who’s who of tense political debates in the United States.

Sean Spicer and Chelsea Manning are headed back to school. Sort of.

Mr. Spicer, President Trump’s former White House press secretary, and Ms. Manning, a former United States soldier who served seven years in prison for leaking classified information, were named visiting fellows at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School on Wednesday.

Needless to say, their politics differ considerably.

Mr. Spicer, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee, objected when President Obama commuted Ms. Manning’s 35-year prison sentence in January. He called it “disappointing” and said "it sends a very troubling message when it comes to the handling of classified information.”

Ms. Manning does not appear to be too fond of Mr. Spicer, either. Her appointment drew criticism on Wednesday, and when Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor, said, “I think I’ll forego I.O.P. events this fall,” Ms. Manning replied: “Awesome! Can you ask Sean Spicer to do the same?”

These two unlikely classmates can take comfort from the fact that being a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics is nothing like high school. They may not even come face to face. Visiting fellows travel to Harvard for what the school describes as “a limited yet comprehensive number of events” that “provide short-term engagement with the student community.”

They do not need to worry about the tyranny of gym class or the complicated politics of cafeteria seating. That may be for the best because the list of fellows for the 2017-18 academic year reads like a who’s who of the flashing cable news chyrons and distressing tweet storms that have dominated America’s polarized politics in recent years.

The other two fellows announced Wednesdayalongside Mr. Spicer and Ms. Manning were Mayor Sylvester James Jr. of Kansas City, Mo., a Democrat, and Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager. The rest of the visiting fellows class, which was announced earlier this year, is packed with boldfaced names.

There are the cable morning show hosts and the outspoken Trump critics Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have been the targets of the president’s pre-dawn Twitter rage and used their show to question his fitness for office. Mr. Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, publicly left the party in July.

Karen Finney, a former spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, will serve as a fellow alongside Jason Chaffetz. He is a former Republican congressman who investigated Mrs. Clinton, was criticized for not doing the same with President Trump and abruptly resigned from Congress in June. He is now a contributor on Fox News.

And then there is Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who resigned from that position after he was caught on video manhandling a protester in Tucson one month after the police in Florida charged him with simple battery for manhandling a reporter for Breitbart News.

Bill Delahunt, the acting director of the Institute of Politics, said in a statement that bringing together divergent voices like these was the point of the fellowship program, which was founded in 1966.

“Broadening the range and depth of opportunity for students to hear from and engage with experts, leaders and policy-shapers is a cornerstone of the Institute of Politics,” he said. “We welcome the breadth of thought-provoking viewpoints on race, gender, politics and the media.”

Mr. Spicer, who did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Wednesday, will speak at events on the topic of White House communications, Mr. Delahunt said. Events featuring Ms. Manning, who came out as transgender while she was in prison, will look at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

An email seeking comment sent to her on Wednesday was met with an automated reply: “Over the next few months, I’m focusing on settling in and do not plan to take any media interviews.”