US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has demanded an end to an advertising campaign attacking Trump University.
The American Future Fund, an organisation that “advocates conservative free market principles” and opposes Mr Trump’s candidacy for president, launched a series of advertisements featuring former Trump University students criticising the institution.
The institution, which was launched in 2005 and offered courses in real estate and entrepreneurship, changed its name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010 after the New York State Department of Education said that it was “misleading” for the institution to call itself a university.
Mr Trump said that two of the three individuals featured in the advertisements previously completed surveys that showed “overwhelming support” for the institution but all three were now part of a lawsuit against him. He argued that the American Future Fund “clearly…unlawfully coordinated” with his rival for the Republican presidential nomination – Marco Rubio – on the “misleading commercials”.
One of the advertisements in the campaign features Kevin (below), a “Trump University Victim”, who claims that he spent about $30,000 (£21,500) at Trump University and “basically all it did was ruin my credit and ruin my life”.
“Trump University…promised everything from start to finish – their expertise, their knowledge, their input, their financing. They didn’t really deliver on anything,” he says.
“America, don’t make the same mistake I made with Donald Trump.”
Another “victim”, Bob, says that he was “trumped by Trump and duped by Donald”, as he paid $35,000 to the institution and “all I got was a picture of myself with a cut-out of Donald Trump”.
“The fact is that the overwhelming majority of students had a great experience,” Mr Trump said in a statement.
“It’s a minor civil case I have not settled out of principle. Lightweight Marco Rubio is grasping at straws and produced terrible ads featuring three people who all provided written statements praising the program. I demand an immediate retraction of [these] false and libelous ads. It just shows how low a failing campaign will go to help their failing candidate.”
Last week, Trump University became a line of attack for Mr Rubio during the latest televised debate between candidates for the Republican nomination for US president.
He branded it a “fake school” and said that the tycoon was being sued by students who borrowed thousands of dollars to go there, although Mr Trump insisted he had won “most of the lawsuit”.