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Obscuring the Trump family’s privilege, Donald Jr. knocks Ivy League Wharton, the family alma mater

Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
Donald Trump Jr. addresses the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 19.
  • Jake Flanagin
By Jake Flanagin


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Donald Trump Jr. took to the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Tuesday night (July 19) to deliver a speech praising his father’s qualifications for the White House. And in an effort to repaint the high-flying Trump family as salt-of-the-earth, he ended up bashing his and his father’s alma mater: the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump Sr. graduated in 1968* and Trump Jr. earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate in 2000.

“He hung out with the guys on construction sites, pouring sheetrock… pouring concrete and hanging sheetrock,” Trump Jr. said of his father, stumbling over the proper application of sheetrock. “He listened to them and he valued their opinions as much, and often more, than the guys from Harvard and Wharton, locked away in offices away from the real work.”

He went on to praise his father for filling his staff with executives promoted “based on their character, their street smarts,” not their academic credentials. “To this day, many of the top executives in our company are individuals that started out in positions that were blue collar,” he added.

Trump Jr. described his father’s “true gift as a leader” as his ability to “ see the potential in people that they don’t see in themselves—the potential that other executives would over look because their resumes don’t include the names of fancy colleges or degrees.” In addition to Trump Jr., both Tiffany and Ivanka Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania; Eric Trump graduated from Georgetown. The University of Pennsylvania is part of the Ivy League.

“We didn’t learn from MBAs,” Trump Jr. assured the crowd*. “We learned from people who had doctorates in common sense.”

*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post stated that Donald Trump Sr. graduated Wharton with an MBA. He graduated with an undergraduate degree. The sentences have been corrected.

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