The former headmaster and superintendent of the private military academy President Donald Trump attended as a teenager described on Tuesday an effort to keep Trump’s high school records out of the public eye, even as Trump criticized then-President Barack Obama for not releasing his own academic records.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, described the effort to keep Trump’s records hidden despite Trump’s attacks against Obama in his opening statement to the House Oversight Committee last week. Cohen said he’d provided the committee with, among other things, “copies of a letter I sent at Mr. Trump’s direction threatening these schools with civil and criminal actions if Mr. Trump’s grades or SAT scores were ever disclosed without his permission.”
Cohen noted in the statement, “The irony wasn’t lost on me at the time that Mr. Trump in 2011 had strongly criticized President Obama for not releasing his grades.” (Trump told the Post in 2016: “I’m not letting you look at anything … Why would I let you look at my records? You’re doing a lousy story.”)
Evan Jones, the headmaster of the New York Military Academy at the time Cohen sent the letters, told The Washington Post in an article published Tuesday that the school’s superintendent “came to me in a panic because he had been accosted by prominent, wealthy alumni of the school who were Mr. Trump’s friends,” who wanted the transcripts kept private.
The superintendent, Jones recalled, told him, “‘You need to go grab that record and deliver it to me because I need to deliver it to them.’”
The superintendent, Jeffrey Coverdale, confirmed as much to the Post, but said instead of handing over the records to Trump’s friends, he “moved them elsewhere on campus where they could not be released.”
Neither former NYMA official shared Trump’s records with the Post. Jones told the Post that he didn’t know whether the request from Trump’s friends actually originated with Cohen.
“I don’t want to get into anything with these guys,” Coverdale told the Post, referring to the people he said had asked for Trump’s records. “You have to understand, these were millionaires and multimillionaires on the board, and the school was going through some troubles. But to hear, ‘You will deliver them to us?’ That doesn’t happen. This was highly unusual.”