Donald Trump: His Academic Record

Odds & Ends  
How smart is Trump? This question has as many answers as the definition of "smart." As far as academics, he has aggressively blocked the release of his college grades and board scores while calling on others to release theirs. The evidence that does exist does not paint him well. SEE BELOW

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Trump claimed in 1988 he had "the highest grades possible" 1. He also told the Boston Globe in 2015 that "I got in quickly and easily" to the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, adding that it's one of the hardest schools to get into in the country -- always has been" 1.

An article reviewing Trump and his UPenn experience 1 counters all of this.

  • "Back then [in Trump's era], according to Nolan, Penn was accepting 40 percent of all applicants, as opposed to its current cutthroat acceptance rate of seven percent." 1
  • "The program for the commencement ceremony lists the names of students who graduated from Wharton with honors ... Donald Trump isn't among them. Nor is his name included on the Dean's List published in 1968 by the Daily Pennsylvanian." 1
  • William T. Kelley, professor for 47 years at Penn, "must have told me that 100 times over the course of 30 years. ... I remember the inflection of his voice when he said it: `Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had!' He would say that [Trump] came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything, that he was arrogant and he wasn't there to learn." 1
  • Michael Cohen: "I'm giving the Committee today copies of a letter I sent at Mr. Trump's direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump's grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission. These are Exhibit 6." 1 2
  • "This was a major, major thing with Trump -- that people might think he's stupid," Michael Wolff told me around the time of Siege's publication earlier this summer. "The focus of that for Trump is the college transcripts, which are apparently terrible. I've spoken to friends of Trump from that time, and this was a guy that was obviously not interested in school and possibly never read a book in his life. For everyone that had known him then and years afterward, the assumption was that he had terrible grades, he was a lackluster student at best." 1
Cited Sources
  1. Valania, Jonathan. Fact-Checking All of the Mysteries Surrounding Donald Trump and Penn. (Published 14 Sept. 2019. Downloaded on 2019-12-13.) Available on the web: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/09/14/donald-trump-at-wharton-university-of-pennsylvania/
  2. Cohen, Michael. Testimony of Michael D. Cohen. U.S. House Of Representatives. Committee On Oversight And Reform. February 27, 2019.

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