President Donald Trump is overseas right now, doing personal appearances at his properties and making a fool of himself. So far, he’s asked Japanese car makers to start making cars in the United States, apparently ignorant of the fact that three out of four Japanese-branded cars and trucks are already manufactured in America. And he hawked U.S. military equipment as if he were selling Trump steaks on YouTube. That wasn’t the worst of it. He also told American and Japanese troops that no nation should “underestimate American resolve.” Then he quipped, “Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it?” Trump’s previous foreign  have also been embarrassing, but he seems more off-kilter than usual this time. That’s obviously because of the pressure he’s under back home, with the indictments of his former campaign officials by special counsel Robert Mueller. That pressure has once again brought out into the open the authoritarian impulses that are becoming more and more pronounced by the day.

Back when Trump took out full-page ads calling for capital punishment and allowing police to brutalize citizens, he was just another tabloid blowhard. And during the presidential campaign, when he endorsed torture and war crimes and made racist comments about a judge’s Mexican heritage, people assumed he was just being hyperbolic. When he repeatedly declared his opponent guilty of crimes, even spitting out the nasty jibe, “If I were president, you’d be in jail,” at Hillary Clinton in a presidential debate, nobody thought he actually meant it. But after more than nine months of his presidency, it’s become clear that Trump truly has no respect for the rule of law.

He’s gotten himself into some trouble because of this. He asked FBI director James Comey to give his friend Michael Flynn a pass and then fired Comey when he refused to play ball, an impulsive act that ended up with the appointment of Mueller. Trump then tried to get the Justice Department to go easy on former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and when that didn’t happen he just pulled out his pardon pen and set Arpaio free, sending a strong message to all his cronies that he looked out for those who stood by him. But the one thing that both thrills his supporters and gives him sustenance is continually calling for Hillary Clinton to be prosecuted.

Just before the president set out for his Asia trip, he went on a Twitter spree and gave a series of interviews that made it clear he’s serious about this. He tweeted frantically about the bogus story being pushed by Fox News about Clinton supposedly “selling out” the country to the Russians in that 2010 uranium deal. Trump made his most revealing comments of all on a radio show last Thursday:

I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department. Well, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her — the dossier? I’m very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn’t going. I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing And I am very frustrated by it.

Let’s Talk Education on an Upper Scale, Ok?

Former Wharton Professor: “Donald Trump Was the Dumbest Goddam Student I Ever Had.”


Donald J. Trump as Many Imagine Him in Class at Wharton on the Rare Occasions that He Attended Class

Late Professor William T. Kelley taught Marketing at Wharton School of Business and Finance, University of Pennsylvania, for 31 years, ending with his retirement in 1982.  Dr. Kelley, who also had vast experience as a business consultant, was the author of a then-widely used textbook called Marketing Intelligence — The Management of Marketing Information (originally published by P. Staples, London, 1968).  Dr. Kelley taught marketing management to both undergraduate and graduate students at Wharton. www.upenn.edu/…  Dr. Bill was one of my closest friends for 47 years when we lost him at 94 about six years ago.  Bill would have been 100 this year.

Donald J. Trump was an undergraduate student at Wharton for the latter two of his college years, having been graduated in 1968. www.thedp.com/

Professor Kelley told me 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this — “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”  Dr. Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity but long before he was considered a political figure.  Dr. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told of this — that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.

This has relevance now because as recently as this week, President Trump has challenged the Secretary of State of the United States to an I.Q. contest.  www.washingtonpost.com/…  This came within two days after NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the President a “moron” www.nbcnews.com/… or a “fucking moron” www.slate.com/…  The President has frequently bragged that he was a great student at a great school (Wharton). time.com/…  Thus, the public is entitled to a contrary view from somebody who was there (Dr. Kelley), and I faithfully report it here.

Bill Kelley was one smart cookie.  His text book cited above — published in the late 1960s — was standard in his time in the then-new field of “marketing intelligence” and the necessity of using computers and data bases to manage it.  See onlinelibrary.wiley.com/… which credits Bill for coining the quoted phrase.

Dr. Kelley’s view seems to be shared by other University of Pennsylvanians.  Please see www.thedp.com/…, from the Daily Pennsylvanian, stating:

Another biographer, Gwenda Blair, wrote in 2001 that Trump was admitted to Wharton on a special favor from a “friendly” admissions officer. The officer had known Trump’s older brother, Freddy.

Trump’s classmates doubt that the real estate mogul was an academic powerhouse.

“He was not in any kind of leadership. I certainly doubt he was the smartest guy in the class,” said Steve Perelman, a 1968 Wharton classmate and a former Daily Pennsylvanian news editor.

Some classmates speculated that Trump skipped class, others that he commuted to New York on weekends. . . .

* * *

1968 Wharton graduate Louis Calomaris recalled that “Don … was loath to really study much.”

Calomaris said Trump would come to study groups unprepared and did not “seem to care about being prepared.”

Thanks and R.I.P., Bill Kelley!  The words ring in my ears: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.”