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Answer Sheet
Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 04/28/2011

Can someone tell Trump to zip it on Obama and the Ivy League?

Would someone please tell Donald Trump to keep to himself his nonsensical thoughts about whether President Obama deserved to be admitted into Ivy League schools?

Not just to spare all of us from his bombast, but for his own sake, as he sounds especially ridiculous talking about Ivy League admissions policies.

Trump, who has decided to insinuate himself on the country by threatening to become a Republican presidential candidate, first reinvigorated the paranoid discussion about whether Obama was born in the United States. Now he is questioning whether Obama was qualified to attend Ivy League schools.

Obama wound up releasing his birth certificate after Trump’s birther crusade; let’s hope he doesn’t react to the real estate magnate’s latest call to see Obama’s school transcripts to see if he should have been admitted to Columbia and Harvard universities.

None of this would matter if Trump wasn’t polling well in Republican circles, but, somewhat inexplicably, he is. Which means people are listening to him. Which means he has to be checked.

Others can talk about the motivations and ugliness behind Trump’s racially tinged nonsense; after all, did anybody ever hear him question whether George W. Bush (a Yalie) deserved to be in the Ivy League?

(Trump attended Fordham University for two years and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy, to attend the Wharton School of Business.)

I’ll just raise some of the other school-related fallacies in Trump’s argument, such as the inherent suggestion that Columbia and Harvard have a record of making admissions errors and somehow got fooled by the kid from Hawaii, or that there are set minimum requirements, or a particular fitness model, to being offered admission. Neither, of course, is true.

Schools, even in the Ivy League, admit students for all kinds of reasons. Athletes are sometimes admitted for their skill on their field or court rather than their academic prowess, and musicians are accepted for their talent and not their calculus grade, and daughters and sons of philanthropic millionaires and billionaires are sometimes accepted because they are daughters and sons of philanthropic millionaires and billionaires.

That’s something you’d expect Trump to know.

People who went to Occidental College with Obama said he was plenty smart. At Harvard Law School he was selected by his peers as president of the Harvard Law Review, and he graduated magna cum laude. Columbia and Harvard saw something in Obama that they thought was worth fostering. They weren’t wrong.

At some point we can hope that everybody realizes that with this Ivy League nonsense Trump is just being, well, Trump-- and that everybody stops listening.

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By  |  12:18 PM ET, 04/28/2011

 
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