San Diego’s Brush With Trump University
by Reviewer Rob
So, I attended a Trump University seminar in early 2007 at an upscale San Diego Mission Valley hotel in San Diego. The big advertising buzz that at the time was that you’d “Learn from the Master”, Mister Donald Trump.
Now keep in mind, nine or ten years ago Trump’s hair was much less thin and he was still riding the wave of television prime-time fame of The Apprentice and had yet to be associated with the Obama-hating “birther movement”. At the time I listed him on Myspace as someone that I admired for being a self-made success. I was also naive enough to think that Trump might be at the seminar — that’s how the hype read — if not to teach a class at least to help sell the course to the real estate developer hopefuls crowding the auditorium.
Out of respect I came dressed well in a three button jacket and a white dress shirt, and upon entering the room to find a seat was immediately shadowed by a tall, grey haired old gentleman who bird-dogged me with small talky questions about what I did for a living and other inquiries designed to determine my socio-economic status. The dude even sat next to me and kept prying in-between speakers. From the moment he showed up I had him made as either a member of Trump’s sales team or some freelance scammer looking for an easy mark.
I told him I really just came there to find out more about this new Trump school, get the free book they were offering (a paperback reprint of the 1980’s bestseller The Art Of The Deal was offered as a gift to lure seminar attendees, if I remember correctly) and hopefully meet Donald Trump. He laughed like the others did who told me, “Mister Trump has more important things to do” than attend this seminar in San Diego.
‘Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do,’ I thought. If Trump University wanted this hefty tuition The Donald could make a personal appearance himself for it.
Anyways, I stuck around till the end of their multimedia sales pitch and when they funneled everyone in a slowly moving cluster line out the back like the remnants of last night’s buffet the tables that were stacked with the mini pulp versions of The Art Of The Deal awaited. But there was a catch: you had to get through the sales reps’ predatory wrangle face to face before walking out with your free copy. When my turn came at the table I was honest with well dressed goon standing there, a man in his mid-forties or so with a slightly graying goatee, short salt and pepper hair and large muscles under a sport shirt that looked like he spent a lot of time in the gym lifting heavy weight earning.
Unpretentiously I told him I came for the free book they advertising for attendees. The stacks were on the far side of the table, out of reach unless you reached way over. He didn’t say anything for a while and glared at me angrily. We went back and forth like this and although it was uncomfortable I was as polite as possible and tried to laugh off the momentary threat vibe, but he looked off to the exit and I could sense he wanted to have me thrown out rather than give me a book.
I left with the book, which I still have somewhere. I tried reading it and it sucked, a ghostwritten example of 1980’s self-help dribble. Trump was born into wealth, not self made. His words rang hollow.
Recently, in the days before the final Republican Primary in early June, Trump’s rap spun around the Mexican-American identity of the federal judge presiding over his Trump University fraud case. The Donald thinks Judge Gonzalo Curiel should be recused, eliminating himself from the case because of his ‘Mexican’ ethnicity. “We’re building a wall. He’s a Mexican,” Trump has said to Jake Tapper on CNN.
Colloquially, he’s right. Unfortunately from a sociological street-level standpoint, just like if a person looks negro they’re referred to as African-American. In California as well as much of the USA if you look strikingly Hispanic people will say you’re “Mexican”. This is nothing new and it’s even more so when a person identifies himself as being of Mexican heritage, as Judge Curiel has done. Same thing if you’re Asian, Arab, or a descendant of people from the Indian subcontinent. When it comes up in conversation that’s how they’re described. All this is not in Trump’s defense. Despite formerly professing admiration my opinion today is he’s a dirt bag and a con artist. Trump University was not a university at all but a bait-and-switch scam that ripped off vulnerable people with worthless tuition whom Trump knew were hoping to make money off the housing bubble. I’m just saying, racial identity is always a separate thing from citizenship UNLESS you’re white. This judge can still weigh the case fairly. Many of Roosevelt’s highest ranking officers were of German descent in World War Two, including Eisenhower. No one questioned their loyalty. And if Trump wanted to have his fraud case tried in a court without an Hispanic jurist he could have been more careful to avoid Southern California.