It’s not just Donald Trump’s taxes that are a dark Trumpian secret—perfect, of course, but hidden away from public view at all costs. The president’s academic record, while far less significant, has also been held under lock and key. Why? It’s hard to imagine there’s anything in Trump’s academic record that’s somehow worse than the day-to-day conduct of grown-up, man Trump. You likely don’t need to dig much deeper for an explanation to Trump’s secrecy other than the president’s surely mediocre grades might put a dent in his self-styled very stable genius™ brand, which, in turn, might disrupt Trump’s long grift on the American people.
Despite the ultimate meaninglessness of it all, in 2011 friends and allies of Trump approached the headmaster at New York Military Academy, where Trump spent five years (including high school), in order to pry Trump’s grades away from the school for safekeeping, the Washington Post reports. The school’s board began sniffing around for their famous alum’s transcript in an effort to, ahem, catch-and-kill Trump’s high school English and math grades. The Post story jibes with Michael Cohen’s recent testimony before Congress that a thin-skinned Trump ordered him “to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.”
“Those who were aware of the 2011 effort to conceal Trump’s records said the request set off a frenzy at the military academy,” according to the Post. School officials at the time resisted giving the transcript to wealthy members of the board, but they did remove it from the school’s general file in an effort to keep it from getting out. At the time, Trump was, of course, publicly questioning President Barack Obama’s academic prowess and credentials while at Columbia and Harvard Law. Suddenly Trump thought it might not be such a good idea for his own grades to get out. The military-style school 60 miles north of New York City was financially on the ropes at the time and feared angering a high-profile alumnus like Trump or other wealthy board members, according to the Post.
At one point the school even asked Trump to donate money to help save it from going under. A group of alumni reached out to Trump, going to Trump Tower to feel out his willingness to pitch in $7 million to save his alma mater. After hearing their case, one alumnus said Trump responded, “What do I get for my $7 million?” Apparently not enough. “It’s not a good business proposition,” Trump apparently said at the time. “The school has had a good run.” New York Military Academy went bankrupt in 2015 before being bailed out by a nonprofit led by a Chinese investor, who cleared the military school’s debt. Huh.