The Rhodes Scholarship head has strongly denied applicants have turned down Rhodes to take up Irish Mitchell scholarships

The head of the Rhodes scholarship program has dismissed as “misleading” claims by the US-Ireland Alliance that a majority of students choose its scholarship instead The Irish Times has reported.

US-Ireland Alliance founder Trina Vargo has long claimed applicants were turning down Rhodes scholarships to take up the Mitchell scholarship named after Northern Ireland peacemaker Senator George Mitchell. The Rhodes turndown claims are often a large part of the pitch for the Mitchell scholarships.

“The Mitchell has become one of the most desired scholarships for future American leaders,” Vargo wrote in a recent book, “even though the prestigious Rhodes scholarship has been around a lot longer and was much better funded by an endowment from the person for whom it was named, applicants are turning down Rhodes interviews for the Mitchell.”

Nonsense said Elliot F. Gerson head of the Rhodes Scholarship program, no one has ever accepted a Mitchell scholarship and turned down a Rhodes scholarship. “Indeed, no one in several decades has turned down a Rhodes scholarship for any other purpose,” he told the Irish Times.

Bill Clinton is perhaps the most renowned Rhodes scholar as well as three Australian prime ministers, current presidential contenders Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

In its 20 years, the Alliance has yet to have any major figure among its alumni either prominently politically active in the United States or who has had an impact on Ireland.

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US-Ireland Alliance founder Trina Vargo.Getty