Whether voluntarily or involuntarily, Donald (“the pant-wetter”) Trump never fails to make a splash.
In the closing days of the 2012 presidential race, Trump (who of course was not running for president) made headlines by announcing that he was prepared to pay $5 million to the charity of Barack Obama’s choice if the president agreed to publicly release his college transcripts (from Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School), as well as his passport record.
For months prior to that, Trump had questioned Obama’s academic credentials. “I heard [Obama] was a terrible student,” Trump said in one television interview. “How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?… Let him show his records.”
However, on Oct. 25, 2012, when the Guardian’s New York bureau contacted Trump’s office to ask forhis college records, the reporter who called was accused of “trying to be funny” and told he was being “stupid.”
“What’s your point?” Michael Cohen, executive vice president at the Trump Organization and attorney to Trump, snapped at the Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt. “Mr. Trump’s not president of the United States and he’s not running for the presidency.”
That was then, but now he is running for president — and indeed is the front-runner on the GOP side. So can we finally expect to see Trump’s college transcripts — and have the chance to verify (or put the lie to) his highly questionable but oft-repeated claims of having been a hotshot student at Wharton School of Finance?
Years ago, someone put the word out that Trump graduated “first in his class” as an undergraduate at Wharton School of Finance in 1968. Trump has allowed that outrageous piece of misinformation to go uncorrected in numerous newspaper articles (including two New York Times articles), while taking every opportunity to play up his connection to Wharton and the idea that he was a stellar student.
As the campus newspaper the Daily Pennsylvanian reported in a long article last August, hardly anyone at the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School from the late 1960s seems to have any strong recollection of Trump and no one has come forward who remembers him as a top student or even a good one. Indeed, there is no evidence that he even made the dean’s list.
Based on his refusal to date to release any of his income tax statements, it seems unlikely that he would expose his college record to the greatest of all disinfectants, which is to say, the light of day.
Trump’s excuse for not releasing tax returns is that he has been under almost continuous audits in recent years and is thus in ongoing negotiations with the IRS — and wanting to hold his cards as closely to his chest as possible. Improbably, he has suggested that his strong religious beliefs (somehow missing in “The Art of the Deal” and all of his braggadocio about his business and sexual conquests) may be responsible for his IRS problems.
Perhaps, he will make a similar excuse about wanting to keep a lid on college transcripts — saying that he got cheated by a few of his professors and is still (some 50 years later) in the process of negotiating his final grades.
At this point (to paraphrase Hillary Clinton), does anyone really care what Trump’s grades were doing the two years he spent at Wharton?
There are good reasons for demanding the release of Trump’s college transcripts.
First, Trump has led a lot of people to believe that he is, in his words, “like, really, really smart,” and he has cited his record at Wharton to back up his claim to superior intelligence and academic achievement. Okay, let’s see the record.
Second, given the big splash that he made in demanding that Obama release his college transcripts, Trump will show himself to be a complete hypocrite if he refuses to release his own transcript. Surely, even his most fervent supporters don’t want that to happen.
Lastly, and most importantly, if Trump has lied about what he did and who he was in college, that is one more reason to believe he is not fit for the job of being president of this country — or of being the GOP standard bearer in an extraordinarily important election.
And one final note regarding the headline (in case it attracted the interest of Michael Cohen or any other members of Trump’s assault force of money-hungry and super-aggressive lawyers), when I promise “a yuge gift” to the charity of Trump’s choice, I mean something more on the order of $5 than $5 million.