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Donald Trump, 1968 Wharton graduate and the only Penn alumnus to become President of the United States, has been impeached.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Donald Trump, the only Penn graduate ever elected to the presidency, has been impeached.

The House of Representatives voted to impeach the 1968 Wharton graduate on Wednesday, making him the third United States president to be impeached. The House passed two articles, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The historic move comes after House Democrats led a months-long probe examining whether Trump engaged in a corrupt scheme by pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, which will likely hold a trial in January.

Despite Trump's strong ties to Penn, the University has kept its distance from him, and it is unclear if the University will comment on his impeachment. University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

An impeachment inquiry kicked off in September after a whistleblower filed a complaint about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked the leader to investigate Biden, a Penn Presidential Professor of Practice who took an unpaid leave of absence after announcing his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Since Trump has been engulfed in the scandal, he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the charges against him are a partisan ploy. 


On the eve of the vote, Trump sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a scathing six-page letter castigating the Democrats' "attempted coup" and claiming that they were "unwilling and unable to accept the verdict issued at the ballot box during the great Election of 2016."

The first article of impeachment accused Trump of carrying out a corrupt scheme to interfere with the 2020 election by leveraging $391 million in military aid and a White House meeting for the Ukrainian president. The second article accused the president of stonewalling congressional probes by defying subpoenas for testimony and documents related to his dealings with Ukraine.

Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly plans to hold a speedy trial, Trump has suggested he would rather call multiple witnesses and "wouldn't mind a long process" in order to be vindicated, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While Trump is fond of citing his Penn credentials, Penn President Amy Gutmann and the rest of the University's administration never explicitly referred to Trump during his campaign and have largely shied away from addressing him or his policies.

Gutmann broke her silence and addressed Trump by name in January 2017, describing his executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries as “injurious to our work and inimical to our values.”

“We will do everything in our power, speak to every friend and ally, and leave no stone unturned in our efforts to urge President Trump to change course and rectify the horrible damage this order has caused,” Gutmann said at the time.

Most recently, in October, Penn joined 18 other universities and filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the face of the Trump administration's attempts to repeal DACA.

Trump transferred to Wharton after spending two years as an undergraduate at Fordham University. His classmates say he was not heavily involved in student activities and he was rarely seen around campus on weekends.

Trump's academics at Penn have taken center stage. In February, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified in Congress that he sent a letter to Penn threatening civil and criminal action if the University released a transcript of Trump's grades.

The president frequently describes himself as "really smart" and a "very stable genius," often citing his Wharton degree. Trump has also never challenged the fact that he "graduated first in his class," which various news agencies such as The New York Times have reported, although Trump's name was not among the 56 students who made the Wharton Dean's List in 1968 and Trump’s classmates have disputed this claim. 

Three of Trump's children attended Penn — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Tiffany Trump. A Daily Pennsylvanian analysis found that Trump may have donated up to $1,480,500 to Penn, based on University reports and his foundation's tax filings, while his three children might have contributed combined donations of anywhere between $10,001 to $22,743.

Trump is the third president to be impeached, following President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton, who were both acquitted by the Senate. President Richard Nixon resigned from office before the House could vote on articles of impeachment.

William Henry Harrison, who studied medicine at Penn for one semester in 1791, is the only other Penn-affiliated president.

Staff Reporter Tori Sousa contributed reporting.