Trump University “Stars” Turn Out To Be Just More of Donald Trump’s Marks

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As you know, several former students at Trump University have claimed that the whole operation was a fraud. Trump’s response has been simple: these are just a few malcontents. Most of Trump U’s students were delighted with the education they got.

Well, funny thing about that. The recently unsealed documents in the class-action suit against Trump U included the names of a bunch of those delighted students. So Brandy Zadrozny of the Daily Beast decided to give them a call. She managed to contact five of them:

“Trump University is some [of] the best money I ever invested,” wrote Ryan Maddings in one of the evaluations for a 3-day Trump University retreat….“It was a lie,” said Maddings, an ex-marine now 32, who told The Daily Beast that he racked up around $45,000 in credit card debt to buy Trump University seminars and products.

….Julie Lord, 51, of New Port Richey, Florida…said she dropped around $80,000 on Trump University seminars, mentorships, and products, but felt like more of “a target” than a student.

…Despite her current claim that she “got burned by Trump U,” in her written evaluation, Lord rated every aspect of the 2008 seminar as “excellent,” adding several plus signs to the maximum 5 rating. “I am so sorry that I did that,” Lord told The Daily Beast after hearing that her positive review is being used as evidence by Trump’s defense. “But they actually coached you.”

The most positive responses Zadrozny managed to get were from one guy who said Trump U was “fine”—though he says he could have learned the same stuff online for free—and another who said she was happy but had never managed to put her Trump U education to any use. What these two have in common is that they managed to avoid the hard sell and ended up spending only a few thousand dollars on Trump U seminars. The folks who got pressured into signing up for the full con, however, seem to pretty routinely feel they were burned. If these are the folks that Trump plans to trot out as defenders of his scam university, he better think twice.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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