Way back in April 2011, Donald Trump was contemplating a run for the White House against Barack Obama. At that time, Trump was disrupting the GOP nominating contest with the idea that Obama was not born in America, the so-called racist “birther” controversy.
In addition to questioning Obama’s birth certificate, Trump also unfairly contested Obama’s education. According to NBC News, President Obama “graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1983 with a degree in political science after transferring from Occidental College in California. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude 1991 and was the first black President of the Harvard Law Review.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump said:
“I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard,” Trump said. “We don’t know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our President.”
Even though Trump had zero proof of his claims that Obama had an illegitimate birth certificate or that he didn’t deserve Ivy League education, he said:
“I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said. “I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.”
The following month, Trump dropped out of the White House race, and Mitt Romney went on to get the Republican presidential nomination. Obama was reelected with Vice President Biden by his side.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote:
“[Trump’s] flirtation with the race this time had all the indications of a publicity ploy rather than a serious endeavor — beginning with Trump’s decision to focus almost exclusively on the already-settled debate over Obama’s US citizenship.”
A month prior, President Obama humiliated Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner. As Trump sat emotionless, Obama responded to Trump’s birther assertions, eliciting roars of laugher from the crowd.
It was a defining moment that some said spurred Trump to later run for President out of revenge, if not American interests. Notably, this interpretation was contested by a person sitting nearby at the event. However, Trump has not attended the dinner since taking office, and this year the event is canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
New context for Trump’s Obama obsession
Today, there is a new context for Trump’s obsession with Obama. A highly-anticipated memoir is set to come out next week. The author is Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump, who holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer write:
“The book, ‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,’ depicts a multigenerational saga of greed, betrayal and internecine tension and seeks to explain how President Trump’s position in one of New York’s wealthiest and most infamous real-estate empires helped him acquire what Ms. Trump has referred to as ‘twisted behaviors’ — attributes like seeing other people in ‘monetary terms’ and practicing ‘cheating as a way of life.'”
Highlights from Mary Trump’s book suggest Trump appears to be even more unfit to hold the office of President than we already thought. And, the paragraph about Trump’s Wharton days instantly casts Trump’s Obama obsession in a new light:
“As a high school student in Queens, Ms. Trump writes, Donald Trump paid someone to take a precollegiate test, the SAT, on his behalf. The high score the proxy earned for him, Ms. Trump adds, helped the young Mr. Trump to later gain admittance as an undergraduate to the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school.
Donald Trump has often boasted about attending Wharton. At one point, he said he went to “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,” and claimed it was evidence of “super genius stuff.”
If true, Trump’s many boasts about his elite Wharton School of Finance (as it was called then) education appear to be based on lies. As he sought to cast doubt on Obama’s credibility, he may have been only projecting deep insecurities about himself.
For years, Trump attacked Obama's academic record
In 2011, Trump said: "I heard he was a terrible student. I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."
In fact, Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) July 7, 2020
A footnote: Last year, an admissions officer from Wharton, James Nolan, contradicted Trump’s claims of genius. Nolan told the Post that getting into Wharton was easier back then, especially given his wealthy father’s presence at the interview.
“…more than half of applicants to Penn were accepted, and transfer students such as Donald Trump had an even higher acceptance rate based on their college experience.”
As for Trump’s claims of genius:
“It was not very difficult,” Nolan said of the time Trump applied in 1966, adding: “I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius. Certainly not a super genius.”
Now, we can add to the mix Mary Trump’s claim that her uncle allegedly cheated on the SAT.
Now, who is the illegitimate one?
Below, watch the Post’s video about Trump’s boasting over Penn’s Wharton School.
Feature image: Screenshot via YouTube