Hillary Clinton: Trump University A ‘Fraudulent Scheme’
Hillary Clinton railed against Donald Trump over the Trump University controversy after court documents were unsealed yesterday, revealing what Clinton calls a “fraudulent scheme.” Clinton isn’t alone in that sentiment; some former employees have even used the same words to describe Trump University.
“Trump University was a fraudulent scheme used to prey upon those who could least afford it,” Hillary Clinton said on Twitter today, reports CNN.
Donald Trump, currently embroiled in a legal battle over his controversial “university” fought to keep internal documents and “trade secrets” out of the public eye, but this week the judge overseeing the class action lawsuits against Trump moved to release the records to the public. Among the Trump University records unsealed this week, a controversial “playbook” that describes in detail the methods the Trump University sales staff were to use on potential customers.
Clinton has so far echoed the sentiments of former Trump University employees, who had some harsh words of their own. A former sales manager for Trump University has called the program a “fraud” and an elaborate “scam” designed to separate vulnerable individuals from their money.
Years Before He Launched Trump University, Donald Trump Warned of "Real Estate Evangelists" https://t.co/gk6aKZHDxb
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) June 1, 2016
“I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme. And that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money,” said Ronald Schnackenberg, a former Trump University employee.
Another former employee recalls how sales managers pushed students to open new lines of credit in order to afford more classes at Trump University.
“It’s OK, just max out your credit card,” Corrine Sommer recalls her colleagues saying.
Sommer was an event coordinator with Trump University, and in her testimony she claimed that Trump University valued employees with “high-pressure sales” experience in favor of real estate experience. She also said that many of the instructors had little to no real estate or business experience whatsoever, reports the Washington Post.
Hillary Clinton spoke at length on the Trump University sales tactics, quoting portions that pertained to targeting vulnerable populations and sales tactics that former employees have characterized as unethical. According to the Clinton campaign, the Trump University documents will be used extensively in the campaign against Trump. Clinton will reportedly use the Trump University documents to paint Trump as a callous businessman who is out of touch with everyday Americans.
“He is pitching voters that he can help improve their lives, but it is all a scam whose only goal is to promote Trump,” said Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.
According to the lawsuits against Donald Trump, Trump University was largely a series of expensive seminars and classes given across the country, like expensive infomercials, which pushed “students” to purchase more and more courses, using credit and available assets to do so. The Trump University playbook even goes on to describe how to target an individual’s personal vulnerabilities in order to pressure them into buying the expensive courses.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 1, 2016
Donald Trump, however, has maintained that Trump University students have been satisfied with the courses and the results of buying into the Trump educational enterprise. But early on in the Republican primary, the Trump University lawsuits were brought up by rivals as potential liabilities in the general election. Marco Rubio famously used the Trump University lawsuits to hit the real estate billionaire’s credibility, reports the Boston Globe.
“It was targeted at people that were struggling. They were people that were hurting, and they specifically targeted them,” said Marco Rubio earlier in the campaign.
The Trump University attacks didn’t stick earlier in the campaign, and Trump continued toward a resounding victory against Republican rivals, but the Clinton campaign claims the latest Trump University attacks will resonate with voters. The unsealed Trump University documents are the cornerstone of the new Clinton strategy to discredit Donald Trump, using specifics from the “playbooks” to illustrate that Trump is only ever out for himself.
“You don’t sell products, benefits or solutions – you sell feelings,” reads the Trump University playbook.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]