When I lived in New York City in 1972, for a brief time I worked at an unethical company that was in the business of hiring unemployed college grads like me to write student research papers and essays for unethical university students who were well off enough to pay for them. I got paid by the page and I never knew the name of the student whose paper I was writing.
Of course, one could make the case that I was also unethical for writing the papers knowing the students were going to hand them in to their professors as their own work. In my defense, I was broke at the time and needed the money. The company, on the other hand, was in it for the profit and didn't concern itself with moral questions.
By the way, these type of companies are still flourishing today, e.g., papersowl.com, termpapereasy.com, and essayshark,com, to name a few, which proves there will always be down-and-out college grads who need money and do what they need to do to survive. It also proves that business owners have not gotten any more ethical over the years, and neither have students.
And this brings us to Donald Trump, who we all know has been an unethical businessman his entire adult life. But what about the young Donald, the college student? Was he a wide-eyed idealist committed to honesty and the highest academic values? Or was he an unethical student happy to pay to have his papers written for him? And did he also pay to have someone take his exams?
Let's take a look at what we already know. According to Gwenda Blair, author of the 2001 book, The Trumps, Donald Trump's grades at Fordham, where he first attended college, were not all that terrific. So how was he able to transfer to the prestigious Wharton Business School in Philadelphia that only accepts the crème de la crème? Easy. Blair claims it was because Trump had an interview with an admissions officer who had been a high school classmate of his older brother. Also, the school knew that Trump's father was a multimillionaire, and it never hurts to have the son of a rich businessman as one of its students.
Thus, we know the young Trump was not shy about using family connections to pave the way for him. We also know he was not averse to lying about his academic record. Throughout the years, some members of the media mistakenly reported that Donald Trump graduated first in his class at the Wharton Business School in 1968. Trump, of course, allowed this rumor to spread without ever denying it. He may have even started the rumor. But the truth is, he did not graduate first in his class; in fact, he didn't even graduate with honors, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the official school newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition, many people believe that Trump has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, mainly because Trump always brags about going to Wharton, and he lets everyone assume it. But according to the Associated Press, he only holds a BS degree in economics from the school, not the more prestigious MBA.
Another lie that Trump has promulgated is that he's "like, really smart" and a "very stable genius." Genius? Really? We've all heard him speak. Has he ever quoted anyone like Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes? Has he ever said anything the least bit witty or clever or intellectual? Can he even string a few sentences together without using improper grammar? In truth, he has never been the kind of guy who has ever aspired to erudition. According to the late William T. Kelley, one of Trump's former teachers at the University of Pennsylvania: "Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had."
But what about Trump's vaunted "genius" IQ? A couple of publications speculated that it could be as high as 156, but this number has been discounted because schools are bound by privacy laws not to release official student transcripts to the public. So once again, we are asked to take Trump at his word since there is no concrete proof about what his actual IQ is. And what is Donald Trump's word worth these days? Not much. According to the Washington Post, their fact checkers have caught him in over 3,000 lies since he took office as president. Moreover, those who work with him on a daily basis, like his staff, for example, use words like "moron" and "idiot" to describe him. In other words, the more people know Trump, the more they realize just how dumb he is.
So I ask you: Is it a stretch to think that a spoiled, unethical rich kid like Donald Trump paid someone to write his papers or take his exams during his college days? It would certainly explain why as president he doesn't like to read or engage in any intellectual pursuits. It would also explain his insecurity about his own intelligence and why he feels the need to continually reinforce the idea that he's a "genius" when deep down he knows he's only second rate at best.
One more thing. Trump began his political career by claiming Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen and questioned the authenticity of his birth certificate. Psychologists call this type of behavior "projection," that is, when you take your own shortcomings and project them onto someone else. In other words, Trump knew the web of lies he had told about his own academic and business careers over the years and projected them onto Obama. It never even occurred to him that not everyone is as corrupt and deceitful as he is. Eventually, he admitted that Obama actually was a U.S. citizen. But by then it didn't matter. The propaganda bullets had already entered the brains of his devoted followers and they loved Big Donald.