Without using the words, "affirmative action", Trump has rekindled public resentment about college and graduate school admissions' policies that use academic achievement, as only one of many factors taken into account when looking at an application.
Calling Obama a "terrible student" he asked the Associated Press, "How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard."
Donald Trump wants President Obama to release his Columbia University transcript, to buttress Trump's theory that the President didn't deserve to be in an Ivy League undergraduate program and accepted into one of their graduate programs.The President chose not to do that during his presidential run in 2008. He along with his opponent, John McCain did not include their undergraduate records in the public disclosure package reviewed by the media.
Trump is not the first to this party. None other than the Wall Street Journal carried a 2008 op-ed piece setting forth a theory about then candidate Obama's decision, to withhold his Columbia University transcript. It concluded that either he is embarrassed by his grades, or something is fishy about how little we know about how he spent his time at the New York City campus.
If his grades were average or poor, in the opinion of the article's author, it would make a case for affirmative action policies gaining him entrance to Harvard Law School. Obama transferred to Columbia University for his junior and senior years, putting him in a class of applicants that does not receive the same scrutiny as a four-year applicant
What Donald Trump has done in his latest attention-grabbing headline moment, is make it seem that Obama's path to glory was not earned, conveniently ignoring Obama's predecessor and his travels through academia. George W. Bush's acceptance by Yale is not a mystery to Trump and apparently doesn't qualify as an example of affirmative action. That is because he was known as a "legacy student" who came from a long line of Yalies including his father and grandfather.
Harvard Business School accepted Bush after he ended his Yale days as a "C" student. The wheels were greased there as well. CNN reported in the early days of George Bush's presidency that Harvard's acceptance rate for legacy students is 40% of those that apply, compared to 11% of those who don't have Harvard bloodlines.
It is difficult, if not impossible for Trump to question Obama's achievements after he made it to Harvard Law. The President earned the title of editor of the Harvard Law Review, something that one's genealogy doesn't confer on a person.
It is still a few weeks from the season finale of Donald Trump's reality program, "Celebrity Apprentice." With the end to the birth certificate issue, although Trump wants the document scrutinized to be certain it is not a forgery, the bombastic tycoon needs another cause to keep him in the headlines.
Television ratings can be driven by any number of factors that include dabbling in presidential election runs and salacious gossip. Trump is facing the prospect that NBC might not renew the show. What better way to increase interest in the program and keep alive his hope of a new season or seasons, than by calling the president a "terrible student" and stoking the flames of resentment about his achievement?
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