In July 2016, MelaniaTrump.com suddenly took visitors to Trump.com instead of the First Lady-elect Melania Trump‘s official website. The change came as questions were raised about Trump’s degree from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Later, the Trump transition team admitted that she didn’t complete her college courses.
The Donald Trump campaign has said that she earned a degree, as did the Republican National Convention website, although a profile published in April disputes that. The Donald Trump Transition website bio confirms that she “paused her studies to advance her modeling career,” but doesn’t say if she ever returned to college to earn her degree.
Here’s what’s known about Trump’s mysterious college degree.
1. Melania Says the Site ‘Does Not Accurately Reflect’ Her Current Interests
Trump took to her social media pages to say that the website was taken down because it was out of date. “The website in question was created in 2012 and has been removed because it does not accurately reflect my current business and professional interests,” she said.
As Gawker points out, her bio on MelaniaTrump.com used to read:
After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York in 1996.
Her bio on the RNC site included the exact same sentence.
2. Reports Say That She Really Left University After a Year to go Into Modeling
An unauthorized biography of Trump titled Melania Trump: The Inside Story claims that she worked with Donald Trump’s advisers to show that Trump was not just a beautiful model, but intelligent as well, according to the Huffington Post. The book claimed that, in reality, Trump left school after a year to begin her modeling career.
Julia Ioffe’s GQ profile also reports that Trump left university after a year and went to Milan.
A New York Times profile also reports that Trump dropped out of the university. That same report also noted that Donald Trump had only visited Slovenia once.
The Trump Transition Team biography for Melania Trump appears to confirm that she left college early before earning her degree. “She would pursue a degree at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, but paused her studies to advance her modeling career in Milan and Paris, before moving to New York in 1996,” the site reads.
However, it doesn’t say if Trump returned to college to complete her degree.
3. She Called the GQ Article ‘Another Example of the Dishonest Media & Their Disingenuous Reporting’
After Ioffe’s profile was published, Trump posted a statement that was very similar to something her husband would have sent out. She called it “yet another example of the dishonest media and their disingenuous reporting.”
Trump complained about Ioffe’s portrayal of her parents and Ioffe’s reporting on her skincare collection. “There are numerous inaccuracies in this article including certain statements about my family and claims on personal matters. My parents are private citizens and should not be subject to Ms. Ioffe’s unfair scrutiny,” Trump wrote.
She did not specifically mention that Ioffe reported she did not graduate from the university in Slovenia.
4. Trump Did Attend a Technical High School
Trump, 46, was born in Slovenia when it was still part of Yugoslavia and she learned both Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian. While she traveled around Europe, she also picked up English, French and German.
According to a Daily Mail profile, Trump did attend a technical high school in Ljubjana. Around the time she began at the University, her modeling career began taking off. The fashion photographer Stane Jerko discovered her at 17. The Daily Mail profile also reports that Trump didn’t complete her degree.
5. Questions About Trump’s Education Come After Her Speech Mirrored a Portion of Michelle Obama’s 2008 Speech
The questions about Trump’s education and her decision to delete her website come after her big speech at the Republican National Convention didn’t go as planned. Instead, she was accused of plagiarizing portions of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech. At first, Trump insisted she wrote most of it herself.
However, two days after the speech was delivered, the Donald Trump campaign released a letter written by Meredith McIver, an in-house writer at the Trump Organization. She claimed that Trump read sections of Obama’s speech over the phone and she wrote them into the speech without checking Obama’s speeches.
McIver wrote that she gave the Trump’s a resignation letter, but they refused to accept it. “Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences,” McIver wrote.