It’s one of the most eye-popping allegations detailed in Mary Trump’s new book—that her Uncle Donald, knowing he was too dumb to do it by himself, handsomely paid “a smart kid” to take his SATs to help him transfer to the University of Pennsylvania.
Now, days after a judge’s decision to release the president’s niece from a gag order pursued by her family, she’s finally able to elaborate on what she’s heard about Trump’s murky education history.
In an interview broadcast Wednesday morning, Mary Trump appeared on Good Morning America to answer questions about her new book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
In the book, she claims that Trump asked “a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker to take his SATs for him,” as he looked to transfer from Fordham University in the Bronx to the undergrad Wharton business school at the Philadelphia Ivy League college. She added: “Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.” The kid was named as Joe Shapiro, but no further details were offered.
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos asked her about the disputed allegation during Wednesday morning’s interview. The White House previously denied the claim and has angrily dismissed the book as being full of “falsehoods” and “absurd allegations.”
She said that she’s “absolutely confident" that someone else took the crucial exam for her uncle, and claimed that she learned about the events from an unnamed source “very close to Donald.” But she added that she’s never met Shapiro—and has no idea if he’s still alive.
She did, however, rule out someone from the chain of events. Pam Shriver, the ESPN analyst and ex tennis pro, previously said that if the book is referring to her late husband Joe Shapiro—who was a friend of Trump’s—it can’t be accurate, because her husband only met Trump after the SAT had been taken and Trump had transferred.
“It was not the Joe Shapiro that people have been focusing on,” Mary told Stephanopoulos, adding that she feels “terrible” that Shriver has been the subject of intense press speculation since the first excerpts of her book were published, and that she wished she could have addressed those allegations sooner—but was unable to.
Mary Trump was repeatedly scathing of her uncle throughout the interview. In her most damning assessment of how she feels he’s performed in office, she said, “He is utterly incapable of leading this country, and it’s dangerous to allow him to do so.”
She went on to say there are clear parallels about how she saw Donald act within the family and how he’s acted as president. She explained: “I saw firsthand what focusing on the wrong things, elevating the wrong people can do—the collateral damage that can be created by allowing somebody to live their lives without accountability... It is striking to see that continuing now, on a much grander scale.”
Asked what she would say if she was face-to-face with President Trump now, and bluntly replied, “Resign.”