Donald Trump has now totally, undeniably injected race into presidential contest with his attack on Barack Obama's educational credentials.
"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump told the Associated Press.
"I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."
Obama graduated from Columbia in 1983 after transferring from Occidential College. After working as a community organizer, he went to Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude in 1991. He was president of the Harvard Law Review.
"I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard," Trump said. "We don't know a thing about this guy."
The implication here, of course, is that Obama was somehow cut an unfair break because he is black. It's a fantasy that plays to one of the most cherished beliefs of angry whites who think they've been passed over for jobs and promotions because of affirmative action. The sky-high unemployment rate for African-Americans ought to burst this racist bubble, but the delusion lives on, and Donald Trump is happily feeding this prejudice.
In point of fact, Trump's own educational background is more shrouded in mystery than Obama's. Trump -- who continually tells interviewers that he is a very smart person who went to great schools -- attended a small private school in Queens before his parents shipped him to off to the New York Military Academy.
After graduating from the military school in 1964, Trump spent a couple of years at Fordham and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. What explains Trump's jump from Fordham to the Ivy League? Could it have been the influence of his wealthy father?
We don't know a thing about this guy.
The former casino operator has been pushing the race button for some time with his fact-free "birther" claims. He professed outrage at the idea that his charges -- including allegations that Obama could not possibly have written Dreams from My Father -- were racist.
"I have a great relationship with the blacks. I've always had a great relationship with the blacks," he told an Albany radio station in an echo of the some-of-my-best-friends-are-black defense.
Trump draws most of his GOP support from birthers, according to a recent poll. For these voters, opposing Obama's policies and his track record isn't enough. They deny the legitimacy of Obama's presidency by claiming he was born in Kenya. Ergo, the United States doesn't have a black president. A comforting thought, no doubt, for these folks.
If Trump is going to keep wading in this muck, the least he could do is set an example. Let's see admission records and transcripts of Trump's grades. And since we're on the subject of documents, it's worth noting that Trump graduated from Penn in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War.
But he never served a day in the military. He told Fox's Channel 5 news in New York that this was just a phenomenal stroke of luck. Trump claims that his number in the draft lottery was so high that he was never called to serve.
"I actually got lucky because I had a very high draft number... Do you remember those days? You're too young," he told the newsman who popped the question.
If anything cries out for documentation, it's Donald Trump's military history. Draft records, please.