There has been much speculation of late about whether Donald Trump will actually join the race for the Republican presidential nomination, or whether he is simply trying to garner publicity for his latest TV show. In the meantime, Trump has reignited the absurd “birther” debate over whether President Obama is a U.S. citizen, and is now questioning Obama’s educational credentials.
“I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” Trump said in an interview earlier this week. “I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.”
This is a bizarre tactic, to say the least, because Obama, who attended Columbia University for his undergraduate education and went on to Harvard Law School, has impeccable credentials. It’s true that he transferred to Columbia from Occidential College in California, and indicated in his memoir that his grades had not always been perfect, but his performance at Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, clearly illustrates that he deserved to attend these elite institutions.
Obama has refused to release his academic transcripts, which seems like a logical move to protect his privacy. Trump, however, sees this as an effort to conceal information.
“I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard,” Trump said. “We don’t know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president.”
Speculations about Trump’s friends’ children’s credentials nonwithstanding, I think we can say unequivocally that Obama is intelligent and hard-working enough to have deserved his Ivy League education. Presidents in the past have released poor academic transcripts (George W. Bush’s was available on his campaign website), and the fact that a “C” student attended Yale University and later served two terms as president should, perhaps, be more alarming to Trump, who seems to be latching onto the most ridiculous objections to Obama’s presidency in an attempt to direct the limelight onto himself.
Thankfully, support for Trump seems to be waning. Half of Americans say that Trump would make a “poor” or “terrible” president, and over 60 percent of voters, including almost half of Republicans, say that they would definitely not cast a ballot for Trump. This is less hopeful, however, given that 46% of Americans say they will definitely not vote for Obama.
Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons.