Former Wharton Admissions Officer Says Trump Benefited From Family Connections

When Donald Trump is praising himself for being a “very stable genius,” he often cites his attendance at the Wharton School of Business as proof.

Trump got his degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s business school in 1968, and he still brings it up as evidence of his intelligence.

“I went to the Wharton School of Business,” he’ll have you know. “I’m, like, a really smart person.”

However, a former admissions officer at the school said that the president got into the prestigious school mostly due to his genes rather than his genius.

James Nolan told the Washington Post that he was working in the admissions office in 1966 when a good friend, Fred Trump Jr., called asking for a favor.

“He called me and said, ‘You remember my brother Donald?’ Which I didn’t,” Nolan, 81, told the paper in an article published Monday.“[Trump Jr.] said, ‘He’s at Fordham and he would like to transfer to Wharton. Will you interview him?’ I was happy to do that.”

Nolan recalled that when he met with the future president, he saw no signs he was dealing with a world-class intellect.

 “I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius,” he said. “Certainly not a super genius.” 

Nolan said he wrote a report about Trump and said he doesn’t remember the details, but “it must have been decent enough to support his candidacy.”

Although it was common for children of wealthy and influential people to be admitted before other applicants ― especially if there were big donations made to the school ― the Post said there is no evidence that Fred Trump Sr. made a large donation to the school to help his son.

Still, the interview is just another example of how Trump, a self-proclaimed self-made man, benefited greatly from family connections and wealth.

Last year, the New York Times reported that, contrary to the president’s claims that he transformed a “small loan” of $1 million from his father into a “massive empire,” Fred Trump Sr. actually loaned his son at least $140 million in today’s dollars.

Trump’s dad also helped his son avoid financial ruin more than a few times, such as in 1990 when he sent one of his bookkeepers to Atlantic City in 1990 to buy $3.5 million in casino chips so his son could make a bond payment.  

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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