Donald Trump says his uncle was a professor at MIT. Here is the truth

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Claim:

Donald Trump‘s uncle was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rating:

Note: TrueNote: True

Note: True

In a bid to highlight his alleged mental and genetic superiority over US President Joe Biden during a visit to Las Vegas. election rally on January 27, 2024, former President Donald Trump sharp to his uncle, whom he described as the longest-serving professor in the history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):

I had an uncle – he’s the longest-serving professor, Dr. John Trump – in the history of MIT. Same genes. …We are intelligent people. …We too are like racehorses. The fast produces the fast, and the slow? It doesn’t work so well.

This wasn’t the first time Trump used this talking point. He mentioned John Trump for the first time in a political context second day of his 2016 campaign — during a meeting on June 17, 2015, rally in New Hampshire:

I had an uncle who went to MIT and is a great teacher. Dr. John Trump. A genius. It’s my blood. I am smart. Excellent marks. Like really smart.

Like Snopes wrote in August 2016, Trump also mentioned his uncle in a campaign segment on July 19, 2016. speech in South Carolina – apparently over the Obama-Iran nuclear deal – which then went viral:

Look, having nuclear – my uncle was a great professor, scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart. … Nuclear power is so powerful; my uncle explained it to me many, many years ago

Although the use of this family connection as evidence of Donald Trump’s cognitive strength is limited at best, it is true that his uncle was an accomplished scientist and longtime engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – where he also received his Ph.D. – as describe in 2016 in The New Yorker:

John Trump truly seems to have been a brilliant scientist. He was at MIT for decades…. Trump participated in radar research for the Allies during World War II, and by 1943 the FBI had enough confidence in his technical abilities and discretion to call him when Nikola Tesla died in his room at the New Yorker Hotel, Manhattan. raising the question of whether enemy agents might have had a chance to discover some of his secrets before the body was found. (One fear was that Tesla was working on a “death ray.”)

His work has been widely publicized throughout his career. A 1939 Boston Globe articlefor example, highlighted an X-ray generator designed by Trump and Robert Van de Graaff (of Van de Graaff generator fame):

It’s unclear whether John Trump was ever considered MIT’s “longest-serving” professor, but he was associated with the school for decades — he earned his Ph.D. in 1933 and partially retired, while continuing to give lectures, in 1973. He died in 1985. According to his obituaryhis work, among other things, on advanced radiotherapies for cancer patients:

After the war. Dr. Trump, while still a professor at MIT, became associated with the department of radiology at the Lahey Clinic in Boston and later became chairman of its board of directors.

Under his leadership, rotational radiotherapy was developed, “an idea that caused a lot of noise at the time”, he later recalled. He also designed and developed the use of high energy electrons in the treatment of superficial skin lesions.

Because it is well documented that former President Trump’s uncle was a professor at MIT, we consider this statement “true.”

Sources:

CNN.Com – Transcripts. http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1506/30/acd.01.html. Accessed January 29, 2024.

“JOHN TRUMP DIES; The ENGINEER was 78 years old. The New York Times, February 26, 1985. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/1985/02/26/us/john-trump-dies-engineer-was-78.html.

Legaspi, Althea. “Trump touts his cognitive skills, citing that he is related to an MIT professor: “same genes.” » Rolling Stone, January 28, 2024, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-las-vegas-rally-touts-cognitive-skills-1234955590/.

“New X-ray generator at Tech.” The Boston Globe, February 25, 1939, p. 16. newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/article/the-boston-globe-new-x-ray-generator-at/139840856/.

Sorkin, Amy Davidson. “Donald Trump’s nuclear uncle.” The New Yorker, April 8, 2016. www.newyorker.com, https://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/donald-trumps-nuclear-uncle.

“The Trump Show Hits New Hampshire.” POLITICO, June 17, 2015, https://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/the-trump-show-hits-nh-119137.



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