Outside of “Benjamin” and “Franklin,” two names may not be more closely intertwined with Penn than “Huntsman” and “Trump.”
Each name, already associated with the billionaire patriarch of a proud Penn family, gained closer contact in recent weeks as President Donald Trump to nominate Jon Huntsman Jr. to the key post of U.S. ambassador to Russia.
For the Huntsmans and Trumps, the president’s decision this week is the latest linkage between the two illustrious Penn families, who over their decades of interaction with the University have shown noted points of contrast.
Billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., , donated between $50 and $100 million to the Wharton School, where his name adorns the , Jon M. Huntsman Hall. His patronage also led to of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, a dual-degree program between the College of Arts and Sciences and Wharton.
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President Donald Trump, a 1968 Wharton graduate is more than triple that , has donated to Penn of what Huntsman has given. No building on campus is named after Trump, and the only mention of him on any Penn signage or property is in the Class of 1968 Seminar Room in Van Pelt Library. (Despite his light record of donations, Trump has routinely bragged about attending ”" and has noted the power of his business degree.)
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Both men sent their children and, at times, even grandchildren to Penn. Huntsman’s sons, Jon Jr., David and Paul, all attended Penn, graduating from the College in 1987, the College in 1992 and Wharton in 2000, respectively. At least five of Huntsman’s grandchildren have Penn degrees, in addition to many other spouses and extended family members.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr. have undergraduate degrees from Penn and in May 2016, only a month after her father became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, daughter Tiffany Trump became the latest Trump to graduate from the College.
On the occasion of Huntsman’s likely nomination to the post of ambassador to Russia, The Daily Pennsylvanian looked at the most notable ways Huntsman and Trump’s paths have crossed in the past:
October 2011: At a Republican primary debate, then-candidate Trump’s international trade policy by saying,“I don’t subscribe to the Don Trump school or the Mitt Romney school of international trade. I don’t want to find ourselves in a trade war.”
December 2011: The tension between Trump and Huntsman’s ratchets up as Huntsman becomes one of the first two Republican candidates to decline Trump’s offer to participate in a GOP political debate Trump intended on hosting. that the debate shouldn’t be “about ratings for Donald Trump” and that by having Trump moderate, it “really dumbs down” the issues being discussed.
Trump comments, “I am glad [Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul] and Jon Huntsman, who has inconsequential poll numbers or a chance of winning, will not be attending the debate and wasting the time of the viewers who are trying very hard to make a very important decision.”
February 2012: Trump attacks Huntsman on Twitter:
October 2015: Huntsman’s nonprofit nonpartisan group No Labels called “Problem Solver Convention” for the presidential candidates to come together in a step toward unity and bipartisanship. Trump was among the eight presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle, of the 20 total running, who showed up and spoke at the event.
February 2016: Huntsman says that if he were the Republican nominee.
April 2016: Huntsman “to stitch together a winning coalition,” according to a Politico report. that Trump is “best positioned to build new coalitions as a nominee.”
October 2016: Huntsman calls on Mike Pence to lead the Republican ticket after a video of Trump making sexually aggressive remarks is leaked.
Later that month, Huntsman, who had been a member of Penn's Board of Trustees for just over 20 years, that there weren’t enough Quakers running for presidential office in an apparent jab at Trump.
December 2016: Huntsman’s tone when asked about Trump’s unorthodox call to the leader of Taiwan than the one he had about the real estate developer during the presidential campaign: “As a businessman, Donald Trump is used to looking for leverage in any relationship. A President Trump is likely to see Taiwan as a useful leverage point.”
Huntsman is later of possible candidates for Trump’s secretary of state.
March 2017: Huntsman in the running for U.S. ambassador to Russia.
Politico later “have maintained a cordial relationship, according to a source with knowledge of their recent conversations.”
Huntsman a likely nomination as ambassador to Russia.
July 2017: The White House announcing Trump’s intention to nominate Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to Russia, but spells Huntsman’s first name wrong in the statement.
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