The rise of 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump came as a shock to many, but even more shocking was his win in the general election. Members of the class of 1968 now find themselves awaiting the presidency of someone they went to school with.
“It is interesting that much of the speculation about what kind of president he is going to be has come to a dead end because nobody really knows,” Donald Morrison, a 1968 College graduate, said.
NBC compiled a list of 141 of Trump’s policy shifts on 23 major issues since Trump announced his candidacy. Morrison said that this allowed Trump to leave himself “considerable latitude to be almost any kind of president.”
1968 Wharton graduate Ted Sachs said he wasn’t so shocked by the outcome of the election. He believes that underneath the surface, Trump is a “level-headed guy.”
“I have said that over and over again and people think I have my head up my rear end,” Sachs said.
Sachs said that even when he knew Trump in their twenties he had a sense of the “social center” in the United States. “He oozed and transmitted that sense of empathy,” he added.
Morrison, on the other hand, claims that, “At Penn, nobody knew the guy,” adding that “he didn’t spend a lot of time on campus, he was not invested in the place.”
As for his main goal of the presidency, Morrison believes that Trump just wants to be respected. Morrison said that they had mutual friends in New York, and may have attended some of the same events.
“Trump could never crack the inner circle,” Morrison said. “Because of his personality, which we all got a taste of during the campaign, because of his business practices.”
According to Morrison, to be respected as a rich and prominent person in New York is to be on the board of a major charitable organization, which is why, he said, “Trump for a long time has sought the approval of the kind of people who tend to be Democrats,” adding that he thinks that Trump found this constraining.
This is why he said that Trump “probably doesn’t have a lot of deeply held beliefs about the policy he wants to attain.” The defining aspect of his presidency, he said, will be the cabinet.
“It will be a mixture of complete lunatics,” Morrison said. “Are we going to have an agriculture secretary who doesn’t believe in photosynthesis?”
Though Morrison said there will be a few “unconventional members” of his cabinet, “in order just to survive as president, he can’t just fill his government with wackjobs,” stating that he is going to need to appoint some establishment Republicans.
It must say something about the country if Trump managed to gather enough votes to win, some alumni noted. According to 1968 College graduate James Restivo, “It says that the mainstream media and the big cities of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles forgot about the rest of the country.”
“He clearly acted like a jerk in parts of the campaign,” Restivo added, "[but] I think he will hold true to the platform upon which he ran.”
Restivo, a Trump supporter, also said that he was very surprised by the outcome. His rationale: “I think he will hold true to all of the pundits that say he spoke to the forgotten man and woman.”
Morrison, though not a supporter of the new President-elect, said of Trump, “I think he would like to be a good president.”