Sally Yates Tells Harvard Students Why She Defied Trump -
The New York Times CAMBRIDGE, Mass. —
In a fierce, sometimes personal speech, Sally Q. Yates, the acting attorney general fired by President Trump for refusing to defend his travel ban, told the graduating class at Harvard Law School on Wednesday that her decision was a surprising but crucial moment when “law and conscience intersected.”
Ms. Yates has become a hero to many Democrats for standing up to the president on one of his first and most contentious policy initiatives. Mr. Trump’s supporters regard her as just one of many holdovers from the Obama administration who have publicly and privately tried to sabotage his agenda.
Her tenure as acting attorney general was supposed to be uneventful, Ms. Yates said during ceremonies the day before commencement. “Everything was to stay status quo.” Her former chief of staff had jokingly told her there would be time for, in her words, “a lot of long, boozy lunches.”
But “the defining moments in our lives often don’t come with advance warning,” she said. “They can arise in scenarios we would have never expected, and don’t come with the luxury of a lot of time for you to go inside yourself for some serious introspection.”