Donald Trump’s No ‘Genius’: Ex Wharton School Official Calls B.S. on Trump’s Frequent Boast

Illustration for article titled Donald Trump’s No ‘Genius’: Ex Wharton School Official Calls B.S. on Trump’s Frequent Boast
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Despite his boasts to the contrary, Donald Trump’s no “super genius.” Nope, not a “genius” at all. That’s according to a man once described as the “friendly” admissions officer called upon to help get Trump into the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


As the Washington Post reports, Trump often cites his attendance at the prestigious business school as proof of his mental acuity and business acumen in making the case (yes, even years after his 2016 election) for his fitness to lead the free world.

However, James Nolan, who once was a Wharton admissions officer, tells the Post that not only was Trump no great mind, but that back in the 1960s, when Trump was admitted, the school wasn’t as selective academically as it is today:

“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.”


The now 81-year-old Nolan says he had been a close friend of Trump’s older brother, Fred Trump Jr., and that it was Fred Trump Jr. who called him one day to see if he could help his younger brother get into Wharton.

Nolan told the Post he “was happy” to help and agreed to interview Donald Trump, who was trying to transfer into Wharton from Fordham University.

Nolan said he doesn’t recall exactly, but said he must have given Trump a rating “decent enough to support his candidacy.” However, Nolan noted, the ultimate decision to admit Trump belonged to his boss, a man who is now deceased, the Post reports.

Nolan’s comments are of interest as Trump has taken great pains to make much of his educational background — and to make much hay of the educational background of others, including that of his predecessor, the Harvard-educated President Barack Obama, whose college transcripts Trump demanded be shared publicly. This, despite the fact that Trump has steadfastly refused to release his.


Per the Post:

For decades, Trump has cited his attendance at what was then called the Wharton School of Finance as evidence of his intellect. He has said he went to “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,” calling it “super genius stuff,” and, as recently as last month, pointed to his studies there as he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative economist Arthur Laffer.

But Trump, who questioned the academic standing of then-President Barack Obama, has never released records showing how he got into the school — or how he performed once he was there. And, until now, Nolan’s detailed account of Trump’s admission process has not been publicly disclosed.


While Nolan can’t say whether his role was decisive [in gaining Trump admission to Wharton], it was one of a string of circumstances in which Trump had a fortuitous connection, including the inheritance from his father that enabled him to build his real estate business [...]


As often as Donald Trump has made a misstatement or told an outright lie (more than 10,000 times since taking office, according to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker), perhaps it should come as no surprise that another of Trump’s tales is being called out.

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Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop

The undergrad program is not nearly as prestigious as the grad program, and Trump only did undergrad. He was a transfer student, and the idea that Wharton is the “hardest” school to get into is wrong, like pretty much everything that asshat says. There’s also the fact that a lot of private schools let in rich kids who will pay full tuition price to help support letting in the kids they really want on scholarship.