The Democratic National Committee joined the fray of groups trolling Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump by ridiculing his now-defunct Trump University.
In the ad, released Wednesday, a fake Trump University spokesman encourages prospective students to forget the legal troubles plaguing it and look at its new course offerings.
“Trump University. Yes, we have run into some hiccups,” he says. “But we are offering a new program: How to run for president like Donald Trump.”
The supposed lessons include inflicting low blows on political opponents to prove oneself as a statesman, alienating entire groups of Americans and covering up shady finances “like a warm glove on a tiny, tiny hand.”
The parody ad ridicules the temperament, policy proposals and financial decisions of Trump as well as his competition for the party’s nod: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. By splicing in news clips, the Democrats strongly suggest that each is immature, intolerant, corrupt, and overall unfit to lead the United States.
Eric Walker, deputy communications director at the DNC, said that the Democrats are not going to make the same mistake the Republican campaigns did by not taking Trump seriously early in the race.
“The stories about Trump University speak for themselves,” Walker said in an interview with Yahoo News. “It seems to have defrauded a number of individuals, and I think that should be concerning to a number of voters.”
Donald Trump, left, listens as Michael Sexton introduces him at a news conference in New York at which he announced the establishment of Trump University on May 23, 2005. (Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP)
The take-away from this election cycle, he continued, is that when confronted with such a negative force, the Republican establishment has not stood up to Trump and in fact embraced him.
“The Republicans being negligent in their approach toward Trump, we have to train our firepower on him to stop him from being the president,” Walker said.
Trump University, which was founded in 2005, has been a liability for the billionaire businessman in the 2016 White House race. Rubio and Cruz have repeatedly cited the company, claiming it is an example of Trump defrauding the public.
At the GOP debate in Detroit on March 3, for instance, Rubio said he spoke to one of the program’s alleged victims, who told him exactly what happened.
Donald Trump signs autographs during a campaign rally in Concord, N.C., on March 7. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)
“They paid $15,000 for this course. They were asked for additional money for this course. If they really wanted the ‘real secrets of success,’ they had to pay even more money, and so they did,” Rubio said. “And you know what they got in these courses? Stuff you can pull off of Zillow. When they finally realized what a scam it was, they asked for their money back. And you refused to give them their money back.”
Trump countered that “many, many people” signed a report card at the end of the course saying it was terrific and conceded that the company provided refunds to some customers who were unhappy with their experiences. He has argued that 98 percent of participants walked away happy.
Cruz’s campaign website joined in the attack by offering a Trump University “Certificate of Deception.” The website said Trump “deceived thousands of hard-working men and women looking to make a better life for themselves.”
“Certificate of Deception,” as shown on the Ted Cruz 2016 website. (www.tedcruz.org)
The online education program was not an accredited university and did not award college credit, despite being advertised as a university where aspiring real estate entrepreneurs would learn the tricks of the trade. Several pending class-action lawsuits accuse the for-profit operation of being a scam and misleading customers.
After the New York State Department of Education said, in a letter obtained by the New York Daily News, that the company’s name was “misleading” and illegal, Trump University was renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.
Although the DNC is just now targeting Trump with ads, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has been ridiculing Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in attack ads for months.
This is not the first time parody has been used this campaign season. A Cruz ad, for instance, parodied a famous scene from the comedy film “Office Space” to portray Clinton as a criminal.