Like his “Trump University,” Donald Trump’s campaign for president is nothing but a giant scam. We’re getting a glimpse of what’s to come if this inveterate con man is elected—and we need to be paying attention to avoid the swindle.
Trump University, the now-defunct “university,” which was little more than an offering of seminars on subjects like real estate tax loopholes, is now the target of three different lawsuits, one of which was brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who described Trump University as “a classic bait and switch scheme. It was a scam.” If you want to know what a Donald Trump presidency would look like—from false promises to a resistance to accountability—just check out the tale of Trump University.
In addition to the case brought by Schneiderman—who notes, “We sued him long before anyone thought he might run for President. This is not a political case, it’s just a straight-up fraud case.”—there is a class-action federal lawsuit brought by disgruntled students of Trump University, who say they were swindled.
Some of the most damning testimony has come from former managers who “portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.”
One sales manager testified that Trump University was “a fraudulent scheme [which] preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.” An event manager testified that students were pressured to max out their credit cards to pay for classes. A sales executive testified that students were lured with the promise that Donald would be personally and actively involved in their education, which was, simply, “a facade, a total lie.”
Last September, in a Washington Post article on Trump University, a former student named Bob Guillo, who “put $34,995 on his American Express card to pay for the Trump Gold Elite package” and “said he walked away with little more than meaningless certificates of completion and a photograph of himself with a life-size image of The Donald,” says he now feels “stupid that I was scammed by Trump.”
And now he sees the same thing happening to voters: “He’s the biggest phony in the world, yet people as gullible as me think he’s the greatest guy in the world. When I watch him on TV, I’m really impressed. I think, ‘How can people believe in him?’ And I think, ‘Well, Bob, you believed in him in 2009. You gave him $35,000.’ ”
Donald’s pitch for the presidency sounds an awful lot like the big promises he made to students at Trump University: “Politicians have used you and stolen your votes. They have given you nothing. I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.”
He promises “everything.” A promise just as absurd—and unconscionably undeliverable—as his promise to Trump University students to give them the tools to make them as obscenely wealthy as he is. And he would deliver exactly as much to voters as he did to the students of his university scam: Bupkes.
And now that Donald is being sued for his deeply unethical fraud, he is deeply resistant to any attempt to hold him accountable for having perpetrated it. In a tirade reminiscent of his brazen assault on the media, Donald unleashed racist fury on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the class-action case in California, calling Curiel “very hostile,” a “hater of Donald Trump,” and someone who “should be ashamed of himself.”
He further implied that Curiel’s ethnicity renders him unable to be impartial, saying that Curiel “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” (Curiel, for the record, was born in East Chicago, Indiana.)
Just as Donald attempts to intimidate and discredit the press when they try to hold him accountable, he is attempting to intimidate and discredit the judge tasked with assessing his accountability. His profound disrespect for institutions on which we depend to check executive power is chilling.
And, as he himself confessed, we can expect the same when he is president.
This, then, is what a Donald Trump presidency would look like: Shameless reneging on overblown promises used to hoodwink voters, followed by aggressive intimidation of anyone who subsequently tries to hold him accountable for his deceit.
Trump University shouldn’t merely be Trump’s latest swindle; it should be his last.
(Photo: DVT/STAR MAX/IPx 2016)