Donald Trump has been under fire lately from critics who claim that everything he touches turns to, well, failure and that the only real gold in his life comes from the metallic Sharpies he uses to write letters about how great he is to his detractors in the press. He has been fighting against these allegations dutifully, showcasing business ventures in an attempt to prove how successful they were. (That didn’t work well.) Still, his efforts to re-legitimize Trump Steaks and Trump Water pale in comparison to how hard he’s been fighting back against those who disparage his failed seminars, Trump University.
Trump recently called out some displeased former students by name in an ad. He then pulled out report cards filled out by students. All of the cards gave his seminars incredible ratings. On the website he set up to prove that his courses were legit, many more report cards are available.
What always struck me about his inclusion of the excellent surveys in his defense was that they were almost surely filled out at the end of the seminar, while the client was still hyped up from promises and networking, but before they realized they weren’t going to get any of the things Trump guaranteed to them. Now, The New York Times is reporting that the use of these reviews is even more flimsy because the high ratings are a result of coercion.
The Times interviewed a number of attendees who said that professors either begged them for positive reviews or stood directly in front of them and demanded a 5/5 rating, refusing to move until the student wrote it down. Graduation documents were withheld until students had given perfect ratings. At least one of the students claimed that after giving a negative review, staff called him on three separate occasions, hounding him to change it.
Trump’s lawyer, Daniel M. Petrocelli, dismissed the findings of the Times, which are echoed in court documents from the lawsuits against Trump and Trump University, insisting it was impossible to coerce 10,000 people into giving a good review if they didn’t want to.
One of the former students interviewed by the Times was Bob Guillo, whose glowing review of the course was read by Trump on camera during one of his efforts to defend himself against the allegations that he is a con man. Guillo told the paper that his instructor had begged for the top marks, saying Trump might not hire him to come back if he didn’t do well enough in ratings.
[image via screengrab]
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