Years Before He Launched Trump University, Donald Trump Warned of “Real Estate Evangelists”

If only he’d taken his own advice.

Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA


According to recently unsealed court documents, employees of Donald Trump’s short-lived educational venture, Trump University, believed the program was a “fraudulent scheme” that used aggressive sales tactics to separate people from money they didn’t have and failed to deliver on its promises of financial success. Prospective students were told to pay for the $35,000 enrollment with credit cards, and workers were encouraged to play on students’ emotions to get them to open their wallets.

Trump himself pitched the venture as a way to get rich quick by taking advantage of the housing market. “If you’re not a millionaire by December 2008, you didn’t attend my foreclosure workshop,” he boasted in January that year.

But in his bestselling debut memoir, The Art of the Deal, written some two decades earlier, Trump advised his readers to be cautious of “real estate evangelists” who promise to make you a “millionaire overnight.” “Unfortunately,” he wrote, “life rarely works that way, and most people who try to get rich quick end up going broke instead.”

It was good advice. If only he’d stuck with it.

h/t #NeverTrump stalwart Liam Donovan.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

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