Diary

Nearly forty percent of Trump University students received a refund

Donald Trump says his Trump University program was so huuuuuugely and luxuriously fantastic that it enjoyed a 98 percent satisfaction rate. But CBS news has a story suggesting otherwise. According to court documents in the lawsuits filed against the so-called university, “nearly 40 percent” of the students enrolled in a Trump University three-day seminar got refunds. The story’s here.

I don’t know about you, but a nearly 40 percent refund rate doesn’t say “satisfied customer” to me.

This well-reported story has an odd lede, however. Instead of starting with the real news –Trump University was not nearly as successful as presidential candidate Donald Trump claims, according to court documents–CBS opened with “Republican groups fighting Donald Trump are trying everything to derail the front-runner….” and then goes on to talk about critical ads against Trump with university victims featured.

This is the usual template for media stories containing negative information about someone conservatives have issues with: the story isn’t just about the criticized, it’s about the criticizer, too. It gets awfully tiresome.

The lede aside, however, it’s a very important story for this campaign cycle. Trump likes to talk about all the great, best, fantastic, brightest people he’ll surround himself with if elected president, to advise him in areas he’s currently not well-versed in. But court documents exposed in the CBS story suggest he’d made similar claims about the university, that the instructors would be “handpicked” by him, and that he wouldn’t put his name on any venture such as the university if it wasn’t going to be “the best.”

More than any other of his business deals, Trump University pulls back the curtain on the Trump modus operandi, which he’s been using to great effect as he runs for president — lure people in to your program using your celebrity status, promise them riches and greatness, and assure them you’ll be choosing the best folks to help run this enterprise.

He’s being sued for fraud for the Trump University program. Americans shouldn’t fall for his similar pitches as he runs for president.

Libby Sternberg is a novelist.