Amid the many revelations in her tell-all memoir (among them, an anecdote about her uncle once exclaiming that she was "stacked" after seeing her in a bathing suit for the first time back in her 20s), President Trump's niece, Mary Trump, claimed that the president hired a friend named Joe Shapiro to take his SATs for him. Shapiro, according to Mary (who presumably got the info from her aunt, Trump's sister and a retired federal judge appointed to the bench by Reagan), was known as a "good test-taker" and back in the day, before the dawn of photo ID, such a stunt wasn't very difficult to pull off.
The revelation spurred a handful of journalists and others to demand that Shapiro "come forward" and confirm the story. At this point, we can't imagine what would even Trump's most bitter enemies stand to gain from this, politically speaking. And apparently we're not alone in that.
Would love to talk to the person that's like "the SAT cheating is the last straw, boo Trump"— Brian (@Brian_LifeOf) July 7, 2020
A push for Wharton to "rescind" the president's diplomat has already been started, but given the fact that he has given millions of dollars to the school, and the first of its alumni to be elected president, we highly doubt the school would ever comply.
Wharton should immediately investigate whether Trump paid someone to take the SAT and obtained his admission by fraud.— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) July 7, 2020
If so, the degree should be rescinded.
There is no statute of limitations on plagiarism, and this allegation is even worse. https://t.co/iZ3I6qZR0q
But in an age of groupthink, the calls for Shaprio to 'come forward' quickly multiplied, echoing across the twitterverse.
I hope whoever Trump paid to take his SAT for him is still alive and willing to talk on the record. That would really be something (that his followers would also ignore). https://t.co/ihKYNXRs71— Elliot Blake (@elliotblake) July 7, 2020
The kids/students of America demand to be given a straight answer on this!— Angie Johnston (@AngelaJ84884786) July 7, 2020
Someone needs to talk to Joe Shapiro BEFORE Barr or other Trump goons get to him first!!@maddow @DNC @KamalaHarris
Mary Trump - Joe Shapiro took Donald Trump's SAT for him! https://t.co/VfR48xkwws
Journalists for mainstream news organizations quickly set out on the hunt to find Shapiro.
One twitter user dug up a New York Magazine article from 1980 where a "Joe Shapiro" was quoted in an article about Trump. He was identified as a "college friend" of the then-real estate developer.
Talk to New York Magazine, they interviewed a Joe Shapiro for an Nov 17, 1980 article on Donald Trump . Wharton SAT pic.twitter.com/i0OzrnRJYW— Animals waving & rocking (@laurajeansev1) July 7, 2020
But the path ended last night when UK-based left-wing investigative news site the Raw Story published a piece claiming to have found the elusive Shapiro.
Unfortunately, Shapiro died young, at just 52, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He also achieved some notably in the world of business: His obituary listed him as a graduate of Harvard Law and Penn, and as a former Executive Vice President of the Walt Disney Company.
To be sure, nobody has formally confirmed that this Joe Shapiro is the Joe Shapiro. But it certainly would be one hell of a coincidence if he wasn't: even the years match up.
Here's the text (courtesy of NYT's Timescan):
SHAPIRO-Joe, 52. Born in New York, December 5, 1946 to Abraham and Harriet Shapiro. Died September 23, 1999, Los Angeles, CA. Loving and beloved husband of Pam Shriver, tennis champion and professional tennis commentator. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received his law degree from Harvard with honors. Before his death he taught at Cal State University Los Angeles. Previously he served as Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Company. His passing is mourned by his wife, his in-laws, close friends, his sister Beth Shapiro and her family.
And just like that, any hopes of convincing Penn to rescind the president's diploma have crumbled into dust.
But we seriously wouldn't be surprised if a relative of Shapiro came forward to confirm the tale, perhaps claiming that it had become family lore, or something, given Trump's celebrity status.