Trump University: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Trump University: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

October 23, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


And let us dive right in this
week with the 2016 election. Or as its increasingly known, America’s Fucktastic
Cirque De Dismay. (AUDIENCE LAUGH) Now, the big news this week
surrounded Donald Trump, a punchline that is quickly
becoming a nightmare. Like if you said,
“Take my wife, please,” and then she was actually
kidnapped by ISIS. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-Now, this week revealed a somewhat
startling statistic… WOMAN:
A new report from USA Today
found Trump and his businesseshave been involved in
at least 3,500 lawsuits
over three decades.Thirty-five hundred lawsuits! That is unprecedented
for a presidential nominee. In fact, if each lawsuit
involving Trump were the basis of an episode
ofLaw & Order,they could sustain all
456 episodes of the original, all 389 episodes
ofLaw & Order SVU,all 195 episodes of
Law & Order Criminal Intent,
and all 22 episodes
ofLaw & Order LA.As well as every episode
ofThe Practice,Ally McBeal, L.A. Law,
Boston Legal, Night Court,
The Good Wife, Matlock, JAG,
Perry Mason, Judging Amy,
The Guardian,
The Public Defender,
Owen Marshall:
Counselor At Law,
Harry’s Law, Courthouse, Suits,
Family Law, Sweet Justice,
1971’sThe D.A.,
2004’sThe D.A.,Reasonable Doubts, Damages,
Shark, The Defenders,
The Paper Chase, Head Cases,
Judd for the Defense,
and all three episodes
of NBC’sFirst Years,and at that point, you’re still
missing one lawsuit. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-But, you’ve also basically run out of television shows
about lawyers, meaning Trump’s lawsuits exceed
the limits of the fucking genre! (AUDIENCE LAUGH AND APPLAUD) Well, lately…
Lately, there have been some new developments
with Trump-related litigation, after he complained
about a judge presiding over two
particular cases against him. I have judge who is
a hater of Donald Trump. -A hater.
-(CROWD BOO) He’s a hater. His name is… Gonzalo Curiel. (CROWD BOO) And he is not
doing the right thing. The judge who happens to be,
we believe, Mexican, which is great,
I think that’s fine. -Oh. Oh, you do, do you?
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) You think that’s fine? Great news
people of Mexican descent, Donald Trump thinks it’s fine
for you to be a human being existing on this planet. Now, for the record, the judge in question
was born in Indiana, but that’s not the point. Because, as he later clarified, it was the judge’s
Mexican heritage that made him unfit
to judge Trump. You’re invoking his race
when talking about whether -or not he can do his job.
-Here’s what I’m saying. Jack, I’m building a wall, okay?
I’m building a wall. I’m trying to keep business
out of Mexico. Mexico’s fine. -There’s nothing– A Mexican–
-But he’s an American. Uh, he’s of Mexican heritage,
and he’s very proud of it, -as I am where I come from.
-But he– -Wait…
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) -Where exactly are you from?
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) Because you look like
you came out of a clogged drain -at the Wonka factory.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH AND APPLAUD) And, you know what?
That’s great! I think that’s fine. But think about
what he’s implying there. The judge is unfit to do his job because of
his ethnic background. And just his morning,
Trump took it a step further. What if he was a Muslim though?
You’ve had– been very tough on temporary Muslim
immigration ban. If it were a Muslim judge,
would you also feel like they wouldn’t be able
to treat you fairly, because of that policy of yours? Uh… It’s possible, yes. Yeah, that would be possible,
absolutely. I would say that was the
dictionary definition of bigotry except after this campaign,
the definition of bigotry might just become,
“See: Trump comma Donald.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-Now, as it happens, the judge he initially insulted
is overseeing cases involving the controversial
Trump University. And he ordered
a cache of documents to be released this week. Which was very exciting to us, because we actually
looked into his university when we did our big piece
on Trump back in February, and it wound up
on this very long list of awful Donald Trump stories that we literally
didn’t have time to delve into, even in a 22-minute piece. But, once we started reading
through these new documents, we figured, “Aw, fuck it. Let’s take some time
to talk about it now.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-Because Trump University is kind of amazing. Back when it opened,
Trump made some big claims. At Trump University,
we teach success. That’s what it’s all about,
success. It’s going to happen to you. If you don’t learn
from the people that we’re going to be
putting forward, and these are all people
that are handpicked by me, then, uh,
you’re just not gonna make it in terms of
the world of success. (SCOFFS)
“The world of success.” It sounds like
what Donald Trump -calls his bedroom.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) “Welcome to
The World of Success. Please enjoy a mint,
and a nondisclosure agreement.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-Now, unfortunately, Trump University ran into
problems in several states, starting with the name itself. We started looking at
Trump University, and, uh, discovered that it was a classic
bait-and-switch scheme. It was a scam. Starting with the fact that
it was not a university. Holy shit! Trump University
wasn’t even a university. Which is enough
to make you wonder what the fuck
was in Trump steaks? Oh God, it was possum,
wasn’t it? It was possum, you monsters! (AUDIENCE LAUGH) But the name
was just the beginning, ’cause remember how he had
“handpicked instructors”? Well, according to
his own depositions, he did not personally select
instructors for live seminars, and was unable
to recall the names of key faculty members. And it’s probably good that
he didn’t handpick them himself, that would be dangerous. Anything
Trump’s tiny fingers touch turn into an ex-wife
or an abandoned casino. And it doesn’t stop there. According to the sworn testimony
by several former employees, many instructors and mentors
had no experience buying or selling real estate. In fact, one had worked
as a salesmen for Lowe’s, and another had been manager
for Buffalo Wild Wings. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-Or as I call it, B-dubs-dubs. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-And even a former member of Trump’s own sale’s staff
testified that it was, among other things,
a joke, a facade, and was just selling
false hopes and lies. And to be fair, every university
has sold some of its students false hopes and lies.
It’s just, most of the time, they call it
“a theater arts degree.” -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-Now, these new documents also include several revealing
playbooks of sales tactics. For instance,
the room temperature was to be no more
than 68 degrees, which is partly
to keep students alert, and partly because
Professor Wild Wings doesn’t want the ranch sauce
getting all gamy. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-There are also instructions on how to sell
and upsell students, or as the playbooks call them,
“buyers”, on expensive courses, with typo-riddled tips like, “If a client is adamant
about knowing the price, simply say, ‘Our course range
anywhere from $29 to $35,000.'” And if prospects
seemed at all wary, there was advice
for dealing with that. MAN:
‘”You must be very aggressive,”
one passage
from the playbook reads.
‘”If they complain
about the price,
remind them
that Trump is the best.”
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-You might laugh, but that is the same technique
that Trump has been using to run for president,
and apparently, -it fucking works!
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) These playbooks are rife
with sleazy salesmanship. For instance, employees were
told to substitute the words “thank you”
with “congratulations”, so that the potential costumer
ends up thanking you. -Which is pretty obnoxious.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) If I started this show
every week with, “Welcome toLast Week Tonight,
congratulations on joining us,” you would quite rightly
turn it off. (AUDIENCE LAUGH) And I know what
you’re thinking, “Well, what about people who simply
didn’t have the money?” Trump U didn’t really
have a problem with that. MAN:A set of playbooks
for the sales team
coached them on
how to market the courses,
even to single mothers
with three children who, quote,
“may need money for food.”“Money,”
instructed the playbook,
“is never a reason for not
enrolling in Trump University.
If they real believe in you
and your product,
they will find the money.You are not doing any favor
by letting someone
use lack of money
as an excuse.”
“Lack of money
is not an excuse” is not what single parents
need to hear. It’s what Donald Trump
needs to hear when a fifth company of his inevitably files
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And as you might expect, some of the customers on
the other end of that hard sell wound up feeling duped,
like Carmen Mendez, who put a $35,000 course
on her credit cards and was left disappointed. CARMEN:I thought that
I’m going to be a millionaire…
because Donald Trump
is a millionaire and they were
offering the course for people to get rich. MAN:This is the closest Mendez
got to Trump during the course,
a picture of her
with a picture of Donald Trump.
Oh, that’s not a one-off, ’cause another
former student said, “We were told that
we would get to have our pictures taken
with Donald Trump. It ended up being a cardboard
cutout of Mr. Trump.” Which is actually a perfect
metaphor for Trump University. You’re expecting the real thing,
but in the end, all you get is a tacky,
two-dimensional facade with Donald Trump’s face
slapped on it. (AUDIENCE LAUGH) But perhaps
the most suspicious thing of all is that the playbooks even
include specific instructions on what to do if an
attorney general shows up. And believe it or not,
the answer is not, “Kick over a table
as a distraction -and get the fuck out of there.”
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) No, apparently you contact April
immediately. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-And it also reminds you, “You do not have to show them
any personal information unless they have a warrant.” Which is suspicious advice -for a university employee.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) 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!”
-(AUDIENCE LAUGH) -Now, Donald Trump…
-(AUDIENCE APPLAUD) Donald Trump has broadly denied
the claims in the lawsuits, and his attorneys
have gathered statements from satisfied customers. In fact, to hear Trump tell it, “The school
was very good value.” Ninety-eight percent
of the people that took the courses– we have report cards
from everybody. They report-carded
on the course. Ninety-eight percent
of the people that took the courses, ninety-eight percent
approved the courses, they thought they were terrific. Okay, first there is something
instantly fishy about 98%. The only things that have that
level of unanimous approval are dictators, Pixar movies,
and Neapolitan ice cream. (AUDIENCE LAUGH) Yeah, it’s got chocolate
for the chocoholics, vanilla for the borings,
and strawberry for the perverts. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-In fact, according to plaintiffs, the reason those numbers
are so high is because the surveys
were not anonymous and were filled out
when participants were still expecting to receive
future benefits from the program such as assistance or mentoring from the instructor
they were evaluating. So listen to why
one former student gave it a good review
that he now regrets. I really look at it like this, is… is… Say you go to
a really nice restaurant. And, uh… really expensive restaurant, you eat this
really gorgeous dinner, and the chef comes out
near the end of your meal, and asks you
how you liked the meal, and you really, really loved it. But then you–
by the time you go home, you realize that, uh,
you’ve gotten food poisoning and you’re really, really sick. INTERVIEWER: What do you think
about Trump University? I feel like I’ve been poisoned. I just felt like
I was just duped, and poisoned, and ripped off. The only thing worse than that
is having that same feeling and then realizing,
“Oh, shit! He’s got three years, 364 days,
left in his first term.” -(AUDIENCE GROAN)
-But perhaps the most valuable lesson
to come out of Trump University is the one that
it is currently giving all of us in what’s behind
Trump’s campaign strategy. Because the playbook
tells his salespeople, “You don’t sell products,
benefits or solutions, you sell feelings.” And that
is what is happening now. Crowds at a Trump rally
may not be able to point to a concrete benefit
or solution he offers, but they know
how he makes them feel, and that is jacked up
and ready to boo any name that sounds vaguely Latino. (AUDIENCE LAUGH) So if you are planning
to vote for Trump in November, I’d like to direct you
to a quote from the top of Trump University’s
old homepage, “Take the risk,
but before you do, learn what
you’re getting yourself into.” Donald, I could not
have said it better myself. -(AUDIENCE LAUGH)
-So thank you. Or should I say,
“Congratulations”?