By JOHN SANTUCCI, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — In the new book from Mary Trump, the niece of President Donald Trump, one of the most explosive allegations is that the president hired a friend of his named Joe Shapiro to take the SAT exam so that he would have a better shot at transferring from college at Fordham University to the more prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Now, the widow of a man named Joe Shapiro said if the book is referencing her late husband, who was a friend of Trump, she is confident the accusation is false.
“He always did the right thing, and that’s why this hurts,” Pam Shriver said of her late husband, an attorney and a former executive of the Walt Disney Company. Shapiro died in 1999 after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Shriver, an ESPN tennis analyst and former highly-ranked professional tennis player, said Shapiro was friends with Trump, but said it was her understanding that they did not meet until after Trump had transferred to Wharton for his junior year. Joe Shapiro was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania on the same campus.
“They shared a love of golf,” Shriver remembered, adding that Shapiro and Trump did keep in touch a bit over the years, and they visited him a few times at Trump Tower in New York City.
“When you put somebody’s name in print in a book, you want to make sure the facts around it are correct, especially if they are not living because it’s not like Joe is here and he would have known how to deal with this,” Shriver said.
She said she was contacted by a journalist with this accusation years ago and refuted it at the time.
“It feels unfair,” she said.
Shriver said over the years she has seen Trump at various tennis events, and every time the president greeted her, saying, “Joe Shapiro was the smartest man I ever met.”
In her book, Too Much and Never Enough, How my Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Mary Trump, who is the daughter of the president’s late elder brother, Fred Trump, Jr., alleges that Trump paid his “buddy” Joe Shapiro to take the SAT for the would-be president.
“To hedge his bets he enlisted Joe Shapiro, a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him. That was much easier to pull off in the days before photo IDs and computerized records. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well,” Mary Trump writes, offering no proof or attribution for the accusation.
The White House fired back in a statement Tuesday saying, “The absurd SAT allegation is completely false.”
Mary Trump’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, said in a statement it stands by the contents of the book, which is slated to be published July 14.
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