Trump fired off a barrage of Tweets over the weekend bragging about how smart he is. The Tweets caused quite a media stir. Here are a couple of Tweets to consider.
The New York Times twice (at least) promoted Trump as graduating at the top of his class at Wharton.
But is that Trump's fault or the fault of the New York Times?
Trump vs Obama
Shortly after Donald Trump questioned President Barack Obama's legitimacy as a U.S. citizen, he challenged his academic record.
"I heard [Obama] was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said in an April 2011 interview with The Associated Press. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."
During the February 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, "The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don't know who he is. It's crazy."
Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 with a degree in political science and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. He was also the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
University of Pennsylvania records and documents uncovered by the school's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, show it's President Trump's academic record that is now in question.
In 1973 and 1976, the New York Times reported that Trump graduated first in his class in 1968 from the Wharton School of Finance.
B/S Economics - No Special Honors
Just Another Lie
A program from the 1968 commencement ceremony shows no mention of Trump’s name, which Wharton graduate Jon Hillsberg said would be highly unlikely if the president had won academic honors.
The program does list, “20 Wharton award and prize recipients, 15 cum laude recipients, four magna cum laude recipients and two summa cum laude recipients for the Class of 1968. Trump’s name appears nowhere on those lists.”
“Given that there are 366 listed 1968 Wharton graduates on QuakerNet, Penn’s alumni database, the Dean’s List of 56 students represents approximately the top 15 percent of the class.
At other points in his career, Trump has claimed to have an MBA from Wharton, although Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald confirmed that Trump never pursued post-graduate studies at Wharton and only attended the undergraduate program for two years, transferring in as a junior.
Did Trump Ever Claim Post Graduate Studies?
I cannot find a reference where Trump personally claimed he graduated top of his class. Nor can I find a reference where he claims to have postgraduate studies at Wharton.
Wharton Won't Discuss Trump
As Trump becomes Wharton university’s most famous alum, campus leaders scramble to protect its brand.
Trump graduated in 1968 from Wharton, Penn’s school of business, and isn’t shy about reminding the world. “I went to an Ivy League school,” Trump told a crowd recently in St. Augustine, Florida. “I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words,” he said at a rally last December; Wharton, he said on Meet the Press, “is probably the hardest there is to get into,” adding, “Some of the great business minds in the world have gone to Wharton.”
Thousands of alumni have signed an anti-Trump open letter.
Perhaps the most galling moments for Penn arrived when Trump tried to play the Wharton card to excuse his pantomimed mocking of a disabled reporter. “Who would mock a disability?” Trump told Jake Tapper. “I would never. I’m a smart person. I went to the Wharton School of Finance.”
[Discussing Trump] “The topic is just off limits,” said Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy.
As a nonprofit, the university is blocked from taking an official stance on political figures, says Ron Ozio, director of media relations. And the administration had another concern as well: For much of the time of Gutmann’s silence—including when she gave her statement to the Daily Pennsylvanian—Trump’s daughter Tiffany attended the college. She graduated last spring, just weeks before the national party conventions. Criticizing Trump would go beyond just bashing an alum: It would be blasting a tuition-paying parent. “It would be a disaster,” said one former Penn administrator, explaining the ramifications of a Gutmann statement on Trump.
- The record shows Trump did not graduate at the top of his class at Wharton.
- The record shows Trump transferred into an undergraduate class at Wharton.
- The record shows Trump graduated.
- The record shows Trump likes to brag about graduating from Wharton.
Trump may or may not have lied about "top-of-class" and graduate studies. There are no quotes to lean on.
Among other things, we do have quotes in the form of Tweets where Trump claims he a "very stable genius" and a "top T.V. star".
Mike "Mish" Shedlock