Europe

Stephen Hawking baffled by dynamics of Trump's popularity

  • In this May 27, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking at a rally in Fresno, Calif. China is a frequent target for Trump, who accuses the country of stealing American jobs and cheating at global trade. Trump is only now emerging as a public figure in China, where many people appreciate his focus on economic issues rather than human rights and political freedoms. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    In this May 27, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking at a rally in Fresno, Calif. China is a frequent target for Trump, who accuses the country of stealing American jobs and cheating at global trade. Trump is only now emerging as a public figure in China, where many people appreciate his focus on economic issues rather than human rights and political freedoms. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this May 18, 2016 photo, Chinese fan websites for Donald Trump are displayed on a computer with the words "Donald J. Trump super fan nation, Full and unconditional support for Donald J. Trump to be elected U.S. president" in Beijing, China. China features prominently in the rhetoric of presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who accuses the country of stealing American jobs and cheating at global trade. In China itself, though, he’s only now emerging as a public figure, despite a notoriety elsewhere for his voluble utterances, high-profile businesses and reality TV show. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    In this May 18, 2016 photo, Chinese fan websites for Donald Trump are displayed on a computer with the words "Donald J. Trump super fan nation, Full and unconditional support for Donald J. Trump to be elected U.S. president" in Beijing, China. China features prominently in the rhetoric of presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who accuses the country of stealing American jobs and cheating at global trade. In China itself, though, he’s only now emerging as a public figure, despite a notoriety elsewhere for his voluble utterances, high-profile businesses and reality TV show. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this March 1, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Signature Flight Hangar at Port-Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. China features prominently in the rhetoric of presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who accuses the country of stealing American jobs and cheating at global trade. In China itself, though, he’s only now emerging as a public figure, despite a notoriety elsewhere for his voluble utterances, high-profile businesses and reality TV show. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

    FILE - In this March 1, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Signature Flight Hangar at Port-Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. China features prominently in the rhetoric of presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who accuses the country of stealing American jobs and cheating at global trade. In China itself, though, he’s only now emerging as a public figure, despite a notoriety elsewhere for his voluble utterances, high-profile businesses and reality TV show. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)  (The Associated Press)

Stephen Hawking understands the workings of the universe — but says he cannot fathom the popularity of Donald Trump.

The British astrophysicist told ITV's morning show Monday that the presumptive Republican Party candidate for U.S. president "is a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator."

Hawking also appealed to British voters to vote to keep the United Kingdom inside the European Union in a June 23 referendum. He said remaining within the EU provided essential support for British scientific research as well as its economy and security.

He said: "Gone are the days we could stand on our own against the world. We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security and our trade."