This morning I decided to have a look at the online archive of the New York Times. I searched for items containing the name “Donald Trump.” I came across a piece dated January 28, 1973. It’s a piece others have cited in discussing Trump’s lying ways. The piece is well worth reading, primarily because it offers a thumbnail business biography of Trump’s father, who apparently really did start from nothing to build a remarkable real estate empire.
The younger Trump’s apparent fabrication appears matter-of-factly in the middle of the piece. Here’s the sentence: “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.” Donald, it turns out, did finish Wharton’s undergraduate program — not the far more prestigious MBA program—after transferring from Fordham. Nothing wrong with that, of course, even if his admission interview at Wharton was with someone who went to high school with his older brother, as Gwenda Blair noted in her 2001 book on the Trumps.
But was Donald “first in his class” at Wharton? Wharton itself won’t say. But there’s this: “The 1968 commencement program does not list him as graduating with any sort of honors,” according to Glenn Kessler, who wrote a column in 2016 with the headline “Donald Trump’s Myths About Himself.”
No doubt plenty of folks are happy to dismiss such dissembling if that’s what it was, as a bit of relatively harmless résumé embellishment. I suppose. But it’s never occurred to me that it might be okay to lie outright about my credentials. And I think it’s telling when someone feels at ease with telling lies to get to the head of the line.