NYDN cover

As part of his racist "birther" nonsense, Donald Trump liked to insist that Barack Obama had "hidden" his academic records, because how on earth could a Kenyan Muslim ever have qualified for good colleges, huh? So of course it's no surprise to learn that in 2011, just after Trump had once again called on Obama to release all his school transcripts ever, the military academy where Trump learned more about being in the military than many generals came under pressure to hide away all of the Great Man's high school records, because of course it did, according to a story yesterday broken by the Washington Post. Evan Jones, the former headmaster of New York Military Academy, said the pressure came directly from his boss, superintendent Jeffrey Coverdale, who told him the records needed to git gone:

[Coverdale] "came to me in a panic because he had been accosted by prominent, wealthy alumni of the school who were Mr. Trump's friends" and who wanted to keep his records secret, recalled Evan Jones [...] "He said, 'You need to go grab that record and deliver it to me because I need to deliver it to them.'"

Coverdale confirmed to the Post that members of the academy's board of trustees had initially asked him to give them Trump's records, for safe-keeping, don't you know.

"I was given directives, part of which I could follow but part of which I could not, and that was handing them over to the trustees," he said. "I moved them elsewhere on campus where they could not be released. It's the only time I ever moved an alumnus's records."

WaPo went looking for information on the attempt to deep-six Trump's school records after former Trump fixer Michael Cohen testified last week (seven years ago in Trump Time) that he followed Trump's orders to write letters which "threatened his high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores." Because of course that is how a sane person acts when he's trying to insinuate a black president was unqualified for Harvard Law, where he graduated magna cum laude -- but you know, that honor could have been faked, too, just like the 1961 birth announcements in the Honolulu newspapers. Obama was pretty sneaky that way.

The story goes into a surprising amount of detail about how the vague threat of Bad Consequences sparked the school into furious cover-up (or ass-covering) mode, particularly since it was in crappy financial shape at the time.

Those who were aware of the 2011 effort to conceal Trump's records said the request set off a frenzy at the military academy.

"I know for a fact that in 2011, the decision was made by the superintendent to remove those records and secure them so no one on the staff could get to them," said Richard Pezzullo, a graduate who worked closely with school officials in a drive to save the school, which was then in financial distress. "People had been making inquiries, and there was a paramount interest in securing those records."

The school didn't have an actual archive at the time, so Jones said he rummaged around in filing cabinets in the basement of a campus building to find Trump's files, and then hid them away safely, although he didn't say where. Probably up someone's wazoo like in Pulp Fiction. You do what you gotta do, that's what they teach at military schools, isn't it?

"I don't know if we should be doing this," Jones recalled telling his boss. "He told me that several wealthy alumni, including a close friend of Mr. Trump, were putting a lot of pressure on the administration to put the record in their custody for safekeeping."

Jones said he didn't know whether the panic-bomb involved a letter from Cohen, but he'd never seen the like, because holy shit everyone at the school seems to have acted like someone threatened to cut their balls off:

"It was the only time in my education career that I ever heard of someone's record being removed," he said. "But people were fearful as a result of whatever call was made from Mr. Trump's friends. I was told we're getting a lot of heat about this."

Coverdale declined to say where the request to scotch the files came from, either, and damned if this doesn't sound like someone running from the mob instead of talking about a "president" of the USA, huh?

"I don't want to get into anything with these guys," he said. "You have to understand, these were millionaires and multimillionaires on the board, and the school was going through some troubles. But to hear, 'You will deliver them to us?' That doesn't happen. This was highly unusual."

Waking up to find a horse's ass telling him to comply or else probably scared the hell out of him.

But it sure sounds like the nastygrams Cohen said he sent to Trump's other almas mater, don't it? Cohen testified that in 2015, he'd told Fordham University's president the school would face fire and fury like the world had never seen if it ever leaked one word of Trump's records, reminding the school that release of Trump's records without consent

"is expressly prohibited by law, with any violation thereof exposing the subject educational institution to both criminal and civil liability and damages including, among other things, substantial fines, penalties and even the potential loss of government aid and other funding."

Releasing the records would "lead to jail time," he warned.

A Fordham spokesperson confirmed the school had received a letter and a phone call from the campaign, and added that, duh, of course it would never release student records without consent because federal law prohibits that for any student records, not just those of the most paranoid asshole to stink up the White House. We're paraphrasing, mind you.

And yes, of COURSE Trump likes to brag about what a brilliant student he was throughout his educational career, which is easy if he never has to prove it. WaPo tartly notes that Trump claimed last year that he

"heard I was first in my class" at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business program, where he finished his undergraduate degree, but Trump's name does not appear on the school's dean's list or on the list of students who received academic honors in his class of 1968.

Probably because he asked them at the time not to make a fuss over him, you know?

And finally, there's this interesting tidbit! New York Military Academy went belly-up in 2015 -- after trying and failing to get a multi-million dollar contribution from Trump -- but just look and see how it made a comeback!

The academy closed in 2015 after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but it quickly reopened after a nonprofit entity led by a Chinese investor, Vincent Mo, bought it at a bankruptcy auction and said it would pay off the school's $16 million debt.

It would surely be ridiculous and conspiracy-theory-ish to suggest anything odd about a nonprofit directed by a Chinese real estate man buying Donald Trump's former high school and coincidentally maybe coming into possession of the Great Man's academic records. Former superintendent Coverup err, Coverdale told the Post he didn't know what happened to Trump's file when he left the school in 2013, and heaven only knows where those dusty old records might be now. Not that there'd be anything interesting in them, of course not. Just maybe a record of pure mediocrity that a really powerful guy wouldn't want a foreign nation to release. But that sort of thing only happens in crazy movies.

[WaPo / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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