(RNS) — Former students from Point Loma Nazarene University, a private Christian liberal arts college in San Diego, are denouncing a speech fellow grad Natalie Harp gave at the Republican National Convention on Monday (Aug. 24).
In her speech, Harp, a California entrepreneur, lauded President Donald Trump’s restrictions on travelers from China, which she said prevented further spread of the novel coronavirus. “Millions more would have been infected,” she said.
Point Loma Nazarene University alumni rejected her comments in a letter that as of Thursday afternoon had accumulated more than 300 signatures. A LinkedIn profile shows Harp attended Point Loma Nazarene University between 2009 and 2012.
“While COVID-19 ruthlessly infects and kills more Black and Brown Americans, this administration is continuing its efforts in court to end healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, under the direction of this President and supported by Ms. Harp,” the letter read.
The letter also noted that “countless experts have continued to refute this President’s claim that the ‘China travel ban’ positively impacted our nation’s response to COVID-19.”
According to The Associated Press, U.S. travel restrictions that took effect Feb. 2 continued to allow travel to the U.S. from China’s Hong Kong and Macao territories.
AP reported that more than 8,000 Chinese and foreign nationals based in those territories entered the U.S. in the first three months after the travel restrictions were imposed.
Students in the letter said they were “taught to think critically” and while they recognize there are a range of political perspectives, “we cannot accept the misguided claims and dangerous comments supported by Ms. Harp.”
“Ms. Harp does not speak for us, and we hereby reject her support of this President who is unabashedly heretical, dishonest, racist, and sexist, to say the least,” the letter read.
In her speech, Harp also commended Trump for pushing for the “Right to Try Act,” a law that allows patients with life-threatening diseases to access unapproved treatments.
“Without you, I would have died waiting for them to be approved,” said Harp, a cancer survivor.
According to The Washington Post, experts have expressed doubt on her story. Harp’s description of the treatment she underwent and her timeline for receiving it “make it unlikely Trump had any effect on her case,” the newspaper reported.