Posts falsely claim Trump skipped daughter's commencement

Responding to Donald Trump's complaints that his criminal trial in the state of New York could interfere with his son Barron's high school graduation, online critics claim the former US president skipped his daughter Ivanka's university commencement. This is false; media reports and photos show Trump, a father of five, was present for the 2004 ceremony.

"If Donald Trump didn’t go to Ivanka’s graduation, he ain’t going to Barron’s," says an April 18, 2024 post on X.

The post includes a photo of Ivanka Trump holding flowers and wearing a cap and gown beside Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and their mother Ivana Trump.

Screenshot from X taken April 22, 2024

Similar posts ricocheted across X and other platforms, including Facebook and Threads. Several asked: "Where's daddy?"

The claims spread amid jury selection for the first-ever criminal trial of a former president, which centers on alleged falsified business records to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels over a 2006 sexual encounter that could have affected his 2016 presidential bid. Trump, who is running to retake the White House in 2024, appeared in a Manhattan courtroom April 22 as opening arguments kicked off in the case.

The Republican and his allies have bashed New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, claiming the judge barred him from attending his youngest son Barron's May 17 high school graduation. Merchan had not ruled on the request as of April 22.

Contrary to the claims online, Trump did attend his daughter's 2004 graduation from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

A reverse image search surfaced the photo of Ivanka Trump with her mother, great-aunt and siblings on the Boston Herald's website (archived here). It is credited to Ivana Trump's 2017 book "Raising Trump."

Screenshot from the Boston Herald taken April 22, 2024

The reverse image search also uncovered two similar photos Ivanka Trump posted in 2011 to a Facebook album titled "Wharton Graduation," recalling the events several years earlier (archived here).

"In honor of graduation season, here are a few photos from my own graduation from Wharton," she wrote. "I remember that day so clearly, it was such an incredible feeling!"

One picture captures Donald Trump -- a fellow Wharton alum -- and his sons with Ivanka Trump, who is adorned in the same ceremonial garb (archived here).

Screenshot from Facebook taken April 22, 2024

The Philadelphia Daily News also reported in a May 19, 2004 article: "The Donald and ex-wife Ivana attended a Wharton ceremony Sunday at which their daughter got her degree. The proud parents also took in Penn's commencement Monday at Franklin Field" (archived here).

The Wharton undergraduate ceremony took place May 16, 2004, according to the school newspaper (archived here), with the university-wide commencement the following day.

AFP contacted the Trump campaign for additional comment, but no response was forthcoming.

AFP has debunked other misinformation about US politics here.

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