In October 2016, The Washington Post published a 2005 video that showed Trump, then in his late 50s, bragging about forcing himself on women. At his father’s alma mater, the Wharton School at Penn, Don Jr.’s reputation also included getting into “drunken, ‘do-you-have-any-idea-who-I-am?’ fights,” according to a 2004 profile in New York Magazine.
“To be fairly candid, I used to drink a lot and party pretty hard,” Don Jr. In another account of Don Jr.’s college years, Scott Milker, a former Penn classmate, wrote on Facebook: Donald Jr.
Every memory I have of him is of him stumbling around on campus falling over or passing out in public, with his arm in a sling from injuring himself while drinking.” He returned to the East Coast to join the Trump Organization in 2001, the same year he spent 11 hours in a New Orleans jail on charges of public drunkenness.
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In exchange for a free $100,000 ring, Trump ’s son popped the question to Vanessa in front of cameras at a jewelry store in the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. “I guess he’s trying to learn from me … but I didn’t like it,” Trump said on Larry King Live not long afterward.
(Per Penn’s student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, he publicly name-dropped Wharton 52 times between June 2015 and January 2018.) But despite all his humble bragging about that Wharton degree, Trump has never allowed his academic performance there to be made public.
Trump ’s Wharton GPA is just one of many mysteries surrounding the 45th president’s relationship with Penn. Perhaps the biggest reason for this shroud of mystery is Penn itself; the school’s sphinx-like reticence about its most famous alumnus plays at times like a silent scream.
Perhaps the biggest reason for this shroud of mystery is Penn itself; the school’s sphinx-like reticence about its most famous alumnus plays at times like a silent scream. For instance, Penn has never had Trump deliver a commencement speech or conferred an honorary degree on him.
Because Philadelphia deserve answers, and because I’ve made a career out of lost causes and thankless jobs, I went on a hunt for the facts. During an interview at his apartment on Washington Square, Nolan told me he spent a lot of time in those days at the Trump Mansion in Jamaica Estates, which he described as “very big, with lots of bedrooms” and blackface lawn jockeys lining the approach.
This was first revealed in Glenda Blair’s book The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire (Simon & Schuster, 2000). Both the head of transfer student admissions and the vice dean reviewed Trump ’s application and Nolan’s interview notes before giving final approval.
“I wish I hadn’t interviewed him,” he says, breaking into the deep belly laugh of a man who knows that at his age, nothing he says can possibly hurt him. “He must have told me that 100 times over the course of 30 years,” says Diploma, who has been practicing law since 1963 and has served as in-house counsel for entities including the Federal Trade Commission and Playboy Enterprises.
“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 came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything, that he was arrogant, and he wasn’t there to learn.” Kelley, who passed away in 2011 at age 94, taught marketing at Wharton for 31 years, retiring in 1982. As Trump admitted in The Art of the Deal, all he got out of Wharton was bragging rights: “In my opinion, that degree doesn’t prove very much, but a lot of people I do business with take it very seriously, and it’s considered very prestigious.
He was involved in no known extracurriculars, rarely socialized on campus, and didn’t even submit a yearbook photo. For an article titled “Many of Trump ’s Wharton Classmates Don’t Remember Him,” the DP contacted 269 of his fellow matriculates.
Seventy-four responded; 68 said they had “never encountered Trump at Penn.” “Wharton was a pretty small community back then … you knew everyone. “I knew him and I liked him, and most of the people I went to school with didn’t know him and don’t like him,” says Ted Sachs, who sat next to the future president in corporate finance and went on to a prosperous career in the financial sector.
Prior to flunking out in 1965, Ms. Bergen was the It Girl at Penn, elected both Homecoming Queen and Miss University. Her proto-screen-siren star power was apparently visible in the night sky from as far away as New York, because one evening, the phone in her dorm rang, and on the other end was one Donald Trump, pre-Wharton.
… ” She stressed that there was no kiss, “no physical contact whatsoever.” Within a year, Ms. Bergen, who politely declined to participate in this article, was a movie star on track for a storied career and never looked back. This assertion appeared in a fawning New York Times profile of the Trump Organization published in 1973, the same year the Department of Justice sued Donald and his father Fred for housing discrimination for refusing to rent to people of color.
Donald, who was graduated first in his class from the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, joined his father about five years ago. Noting that practically every article ever written about Trump in the wake of the Times profiles parroted the “first in his class” claim, the Times finally corrected the record in yet another eye-roll-inducing profile published in 1984 (“Spending a day with Donald Trump is like driving a Ferrari without the windshield.
It’s exhilarating; he gets a few bugs in his teeth”), declaring that the notion that Trump finished first in his class at Wharton was contradicted by the university’s commencement program. Given that colleges and universities are prohibited by law from releasing transcripts to anyone other than the student in question, and that Trump has purportedly forbidden the school to do so, we’ll have to rely on proof by omission that Trump didn’t graduate with any academic distinction whatsoever.
That’s the story recounted in a November 3rd, 2016, Facebook post by Don Jr.’s former classmate Scott Milker: I walked out of the room to find Donald Trump at his son’s door, there to pick him up for a baseball game.
Another 2004 Wharton graduate, Roman Galas, told the DP that he “saw her at Smokes’ once, sitting across from me at the bar, sipping her drink peacefully and gracefully.” She was occasionally spotted at White Dog Café and La Terrassa as well as in Rittenhouse Square. A rumor made the rounds on campus that a breakup drove her from Georgetown to Penn midstream, but she denied it in a 2004 Philadelphia profile in which she described her life at Penn as “hermetic” and was characterized as more likely to binge-watch Law & Order than to trip the light fandango on the beer-sticky dance floors of the frat-party circuit.
In 2012, Tiffany arrived at Penn on the heels of a brief but doomed bid at autotuned pop stardom (google “Tiffany Trump and “Like A Bird” if you’re feeling sinister), as her father was waging his notoriously racist birther fake-news campaign. According to unnamed sources interviewed by Vanity Fair, she was rebuffed in efforts to join Ta bard, “a secret society that offers its members an exclusive social network,” out of fear that a scion of the toxic Trump family tree might drive away the swells.
Her alleged billionaire father reportedly kept her on a short leash, doling out a miserly $500-a-month allowance. One party boy who insisted on anonymity summed up the scene to me thus: “You’re looking at Tiff Trump passing a joint to me, and I’m passing it to a kid who grabs it while wearing a $38,000 rose gold Patel Philippe watch and then, you know, accidentally drops the joint into his cheap red cup filled with Grey Goose.