John Silvestro: What Cohen testimony said about Trump’s intellect

  • Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, speaks as he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Washington. AP photo

Published: 3/14/2019 1:14:39 PM

Michael Cohen’s revelation before the House Oversight and Reform Committee late last month that President Donald Trump directed him to threaten Trump’s high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his high school or college grades and his SAT scores confirms that Trump may have limited academic skills and verbal and quantitative skills.

First, if Trump had any understanding of federal student privacy laws, he would have realized that educational institutions cannot release information on students without student permission. Apparently neither Trump nor his “fixer” attorney had any knowledge of student privacy laws.

Second, by virtue of making these threats to educational institutions and to the College Board, Trump is admitting that he has a checkered educational past, because anyone with more solid educational credentials would not make such a threat.

This is especially ironic since in 2011 Trump strongly criticized Barack Obama for not releasing his college grades. Trump declared at the time “Let him show his records,” questioning how Obama, a “terrible student,” had been accepted at Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Of course, most can understand the motive behind Trump’s critique of Obama’s educational skills.

Third, by observing the decision-making process used by Trump to endorse a host of policies that have turned out to be disastrous for his presidency and for the American people — building a wall, crippling trade sanctions, separating infants and children from their parents at the Mexican border, ending the Iranian nuclear treaty, seeking to withdraw the U.S. from NATO, and calling many neo-Nazis at Charlottesville “fine people” — Trump has demonstrated that he cannot anticipate the consequences of his thoughts and actions.

So, while many Americans are concerned that Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, as every modern American president has done in the past, it may have been far more beneficial to the American electorate prior to the 2016 elections if they had been able to see concrete evidence of the intellectual deficits of the man who sought and won the presidency.

In closing I would just like to proclaim using some of the 2016 campaign words of Trump, “Russia, if you’re listening, it would be greatly appreciated if you could hack into Trump’s high school and college grades and his SAT scores and release them to the American people.”

John Silvestro


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