PHOENIX — The chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign in Arizona said the real estate mogul was simply trying to help others when he created the lambasted Trump University.
“It’s kind of unfair,” Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit told Fox News on Tuesday morning. “Here is a successful businessman, that provided an opportunity for other people to learn from him.”
Some former students are suing Trump University. They claim employees pressured students for favorable reviews on pre-graduation surveys. The students also said they were told the surveys had to be completed before they received graduation certificates.
The students also claim they paid thousands of dollars — some as much as $35,000 — for instruction and materials that were worthless.
DeWit said the billionaire charging thousands to teach others his knowledge doesn’t make Trump University a scam.
“It’s as if you, a very successful newscaster, opened a school for newscasters,” he said. “You could make money. That’s what we do in America.”
In an infomercial, Trump said he personally chose Trump University’s instructors. But in a 2012 deposition, he stated he never did.
Trump University was never an accredited university or college. It largely stopped operations in 2010.
Trump has claimed the judge in the Trump University case has an “absolute conflict” because he is “of Mexican heritage.”
Trump has brought up U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ethnicity several times this year, including last week at a rally in San Diego. Curiel was born in Indiana and served as a federal prosecutor and a judge in the California state judicial system before being nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2011.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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