It’s been in the news lately, but the controversy surrounding Trump University is a bigger deal than I think most people realize. While I haven’t read everything about what this “school” supposedly was, from what I have read it seems like a blatant scam. It’s rather obvious that this “school” was setup to lure unsuspecting people in under the guise of “give us money and you might become rich like Donald Trump.” Though what was really going on was that these poor people were being conned by this “school,” sometimes out of tens of thousands of dollars, to get worthless advice that even the State of Texas said was a joke and unrealistic.
So I wasn’t shocked to see on Sunday night that John Oliver used a good chunk of his show to absolutely destroy Trump University for being a complete fraud.
Oliver started by pointing out how stunning it is that Trump and his business have been involved in at least 3,500 lawsuits. He emphasized how crazy that was by pointing out that you could have litigated each of these lawsuits on practically every television show that’s ever existed about lawyers — and still come up one case short.
“Trump’s lawsuits exceed the limits of the f*cking genre!,” Oliver exclaimed.
He then shifted to the fact that Trump claimed the instructors were “hand-picked,” though that was later debunked after he was “unable to recall the names of key faculty members.”
“According to the sworn testimony from several former employees, many instructors and mentors had no experience buying and selling real estate,” Oliver continued. “In fact, one had previously worked as a salesman for Lowe’s, while another had been district manager for Buffalo Wild Wings.”
After pointing out that a former employee said Trump University sold “false hopes and lies,” he went through the official playbook for the “school” that included:
- Room temperature should be no warmer than 68 degrees.
- How to up-sell students by being “very aggressive” and remind them that “Trump is the best!”
- Substituting the words “thank you” with “congratulations” so that the potential customer would thank them.
- Coaching salespeople to tell people a “lack of money” isn’t an excuse, saying that if they sold the product right, people would find a way to get the money.
- A promise to have a picture taken with Donald Trump, that turned out to be a cardboard cutout.
- What to specifically do if an attorney general shows up, including telling faculty that they didn’t have to show any personal information without a warrant.
He then went after how suspicious it is that this “school” offered instructions on how to deal with a possible criminal investigation.
“I’m pretty sure Harvard doesn’t tell its new professors, ‘Welcome! Here’s a gun and a cyanide capsule in case the fuzz show up — don’t let them take you alive!,'” Oliver mocked.
He concluded the segment by pointing out that the best lesson Trump University can teach us is what we’re all learning right now, because the playbook teaches “you don’t sell products, benefits or solutions — you sell feelings.”
As Oliver pointed out, that’s a great summary of Donald Trump’s entire campaign because his supporters likely can’t point out any real specifics about any of his policies, but they know how “he makes them feel.”
And when you get right down to it, that’s exactly what Trump has been doing. He’s not running a serious, substantive, fact-driven presidential campaign — he’s simply pandering to his backers by telling them what they want, which makes them feel good.
Watch the segment below via HBO:
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