Who Was Joe Shapiro That Allegedly Took SAT for Donald Trump?

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Image via Simon and Shuster

On page 72 of her new book, Too Much And Never Enough, Mary Trump, niece to US President Donald Trump claims that the president paid one Joe Shapiro, in her words, “ a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker“, to sit in for him during the SAT tests.

That was much easier to pull off in the days before photo IDs and computerized records. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well,” Mary writes.

The high score the proxy earned for him helped the young Mr Trump to later gain admittance when he transferred as an undergraduate to the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school.”

It should be noted that over the years, Donald Trump has repeatedly bragged about his Wharton degree, saying he went to “ the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,” and calling it “super genius stuff.”

Naturally, Mary’s claims elicited animated reactions on Twitter. Some are asking the University of Penn to investigate the allegation and If the allegations were proved, to recede the certificate awarded to the president.

Many people also want to know more about Joe Shapiro and a few Twitterers have offered rewards if he will come out.

Some wanted to know if he were the same as NPR’s highly celebrated correspondent, Joe Shapiro, was the one who took the SAT exams for Donald Trump. He was not the one but that has not stopped him from making amusing remarks regarding the revelations.

Let me check the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) “ he tweets in reply to an inquirer.

Let me check the NDA https://t.co/LS2kXivPIp

- Joe Shapiro (@NPRJoeShapiro) July 8, 2020

I was precocious,” he tells another who asked whether he was old enough to have sat for the exams on behalf of “Young Mr Trump”.

I was precocious. https://t.co/4VjPNZcMaa

- Joe Shapiro (@NPRJoeShapiro) July 8, 2020

A very stable one,” he tells a Twitterer who remarked that the reporter “was probably a child genius.”

A very stable one. https://t.co/iOeXuJXbiu

- Joe Shapiro (@NPRJoeShapiro) July 8, 2020

Amidst the excitement, it appears that the Joe Shapiro referenced by Mary Trump in her book is late, according to this obituary in the New York Times.

The Obituary states that Joe Shapiro was born on December 5, 1946 in New York and he died on September 23,1999 in Los Angeles California.

He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received his law degree from Harvard with honors in 1971.

According to an article by Variety, his death was attributable to a “lengthy battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

The article added that Joe Shapiro “joined Disney in 1985 and served as the company’s general counsel under CEO Michael Eisner, and specialised in the negotiation of major contracts. Shapiro is perhaps best remembered as the chief negotiator for Disney in the construction, financing and operation of Disneyland Paris.

He left Disney in 1994 while battling his illness, and began a new career as a professor teaching in the finance and law department at California State University, Los Angeles.”

The post also adds that Joe Shapiro was a “partner at Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine prior to his association with Disney.”

Joe Shapiro was married to Pamela Howard Shriver, known professionally as Pam Shriver. Pam Shriver was a former tennis champion and professional tennis commentator. She married actor George Lazenby in 2002 but filed for divorce in 2008, according to her Wikipedia profile.

Late Joe Shapiro appeared to have had a good relationship with Donald Trump and might even have admired him. According to a New York Magazine piece published on Page 30 of the magazine on 17 November 1980, titled Trumping the Town, the magazine referred to Joe Shapiro as a college friend of Donald Trump.

He was quoted as saying of Donald Trump: “Donald always used to talk about changing the Manhattan skyline.” The magazine article was written by one Marie Brenner just as Donald Trump was about to build the Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York.

Update: Pam Shriver responds to Mary Trump’s allegations

On Wednesday, 8th July 2020, former tennis star Pam Shriver released a statement on Twitter in which she reminisces about her first husband, whom she describes as a man of “great integrity, honesty, a hard work…literally, the smartest person I have ever met.

In her statement, Pam Shriver stated that Joe Shapiro met Donald Trump while they were both students at Wharton. According to the former professional sportswoman who won four double Grand Slams, her late husband was the person who told her how he and Donald Trump met. He and Trump became buddies and played golf.

Watch the clip below:

Her statement essentially casts doubt on Mary Trump’s narration. Mary did not offer proof or attribution in the book for the accusations she made. Still, there remains the possibility that Pam Shriver’s late husband had met Trump before Wharton, took his exam for him, and never told anyone about it.

Meanwhile, Mary Trump’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, said in a statement that it stands by the contents of the book, according to an online post by ABC News. However, Business Insider reports that the publisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The book will be available from Tuesday, July 14.

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