On Monday, Donald Trump repeatedly called New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "a political hack looking to get publicity" for filing suit against Trump University. This is called projecting. For the last two years, political hackery for the sake of publicity has been Trump's specialty. Accordingly, Trump blamed his legal problems on President Obama. "By the way, [Schneiderman] meets with President Obama on Thursday evening in Syracuse. On Saturday at 1:00 he files a suit," Trump told Good Morning America. "Maybe it’s a mini-IRS."
This weekend, Schneiderman filed suit against Trump's for-profit school, seeking $40 million in restitution because Trump allegedly ran the school as an unlicensed educational institution from 2005 to 2011 and allegedly made false claims about its classes, The New York Times reports. Classes cost as much as $35,000.
Trump said he was outraged by such allegations. He told Fox and Friends that Trump University got a "98 percent approval rating" from students. "You could go to Harvard, you could go to the Wharton School of Finance, I guarantee you they don't have a 98 percent approval rating," Trump said on Fox. But Harvard and Wharton also weren't asked by New York and Maryland to stop using the word "university," as Trump's school was, because it violated state election laws. In 2010, it was renamed the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.
Trump both suggested that Schneiderman acting at Obama's behest and that Shneiderman had said some terrible things about Obama in the past, which Trump promised to reveal later. On Good Morning America George Stephanopoulos was a little incredulous — "You’re saying President Obama is behind this?... You just threw the charge out there. Do you believe it or not?" The Fox hosts were less so: Brian Kilmeade noted the Schneiderman had "gone golfing with President Obama, who clearly hasn't been fond of you."
But nevertheless, the Fox hosts asked questions that pushed Trump into dangerous territory. Trump clearly has no reason to fear the consequences of saying anything he wants about politics. But that tends not to be the case with lawsuits. Part of the suit against him focuses on claims Trump made in ads. And Kilmeade asked about another allegation, which is that Trump promised one-on-one time with students and did not deliver. "Look I was very much involved with the school, from the stand point of, I see instructors, I talk to instructors," Trump said. He said he looked at resumes. "Obviously, it's not my main business... it's a small business... I would have given the profits to charity."
These claims are a big part of the New York suit. Schneiderman told CNN on Monday:
"It was a scam starting with the fact that it was not a university. They never registered.... Part of the charges are they lied to the State Department of Education repeatedly. They never got their teachers certified as required by New York law. They promised they were going to teach people with hand-picked experts by Donald Trump. The teachers were neither hand-picked nor experts. Some of them had actually just come out of bankruptcy from their real estate ventures."
Trump seems to confuse political support with legal support. On Fox, he said, "Maybe we have to get the Tea Party after these people because this very well be a mini-IRS."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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