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Volume 23 No. 23
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In Trump, Cohen sees classmate, hint of ‘Seinfeld’

Donald Trump was a Wharton classmate of Joe Cohen’s.

Cohen said that early in his second tour of duty at Madison Square Garden, ITT and MSG were selling the Miss Universe pageant. Cohen called his former classmate and suggested to Trump that he buy Miss Universe for Marla Maples, Trump’s wife at the time. “To heck with that,” he recalls Trump answering, “I’m buying it for myself.”

Trump bought Miss Universe in 1996.

Cohen doesn’t remember too much direct contact with Trump since then, but who can avoid the GOP front-runner on television these days?

“I recognize the person and personality,” Cohen said.

Cohen’s theory is that George Steinbrenner’s fame outside of sports, gained somewhat as a semi-regular character on “Seinfeld” in the 1990s, was responsible for Trump being involved in “The Apprentice,” which in turn launched Trump the politician.

“When George started to be featured in ‘Seinfeld’ and recognized outside of just sports, it impacted him and he saw the power of it,” Cohen said. “I watched Donald watch George, and then I watched Donald get into television, and I believe he learned that from George.”