Clinton blasts Trump University, calls GOP rival a 'fraud'

Story highlights

  • The attacks Clinton unleashed against Trump are among her sharpest of the campaign
  • Her aides say she plans to focus more on the now-defunct, scandal-plagued business

Newark, New Jersey (CNN)Hillary Clinton is hammering Donald Trump's namesake set of training programs, calling the school "more evidence that Donald Trump himself is a fraud."

"He is trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump University," the likely Democratic presidential nominee said at an event Wednesday in Newark, New Jersey.
    The attacks Clinton unleashed against Trump are among her sharpest of the campaign -- reflecting a belief that Trump University is a major vulnerability for the presumptive GOP nominee and that Trump is likely to be goaded into a response that would keep the issue alive.
    Clinton pointed to documents unsealed by a judge Tuesday in a lawsuit over Trump University.
    "His own employees testified that Trump U -- you can't make this up -- that Trump U was a fraudulent scheme where Donald Trump enriched himself at the expense of hard working people," Clinton said.
    "Trump and his employees took advantage of vulnerable Americans encouraging them to max out their credit cards, empty their retirement savings, destroy their financial futures, all while making promises they knew were false from the beginning," she said. "This is just more evidence that Donald Trump himself is a fraud. He is trying to scam America the way he scammed all those people at Trump University."
    It's the latest attack Clinton has unleashed against Trump after blasting his record on veterans this week and his years-old comments about how he'd profit from the housing crisis last week. She said his actions demonstrate that Trump is "unqualified and unfit" for the presidency.
    Tuesday afternoon, Trump's campaign released a video highlighting what it said were former students praising their experiences at Trump University.
    "I must tell you that the courses that I took were outstanding," Kent Moyer, one of the students, says in the clip.

    Clinton campaign to keep up attacks

    The Clinton campaign's criticism of Trump University began with a lengthy attack on Twitter, where Clinton's official account labeled the school a "fraud" and a "scam."
    Her shots at Trump University included retweeting 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's assertion that Trump is "is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University."
    The school is now defunct and what remains is called the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.
    Her campaign pledged to keep up the attack over the Trump-owned business the day after documents detailing strategies to encourage customers to sign up for seminars -- even if they couldn't afford them -- were unsealed by a judge in the fraud case against Trump University and became public.
    "Confident that voters don't know enough about Trump U yet. So expect to hear quite a bit more from us on this topic," Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri tweeted.
    Clinton's press secretary, Brian Fallon, tweeted, "Trump U is devastating because it's metaphor for his whole campaign: promising hardworking Americans way to get ahead, but all based on lies."
    The Clinton tweets linked to a New York Times report on Trump University that featured former employees of the business characterizing it as a "fraudulent scheme" that "preyed upon" its customers.
    In another tweet, Clinton included a warning, saying: "Caution -- may cause nausea."
    She also linked to a Washington Post report citing Trump University employees describing the business as a scam in the records unveiled Tuesday.
    That was the starting point of a Clinton tweetstorm.
    "The gist: Trump's for-profit university deceived & exploited students to take their money," her account tweeted. "And he has the gall to call the media 'sleazy.'"
    Then, she tweeted: "Some of Trump University's tactics: push people to take on debt, cash out retirement, max out credit cards—whatever it took to buy classes."
    She continued: "Some of Trump University's tactics: push people to take on debt, cash out retirement, max out credit cards—whatever it took to buy classes."
    "Another Trump University practice, according to its own employees: target struggling families to fleece them," Clinton tweeted. "Trump University employed instructors with no experience and lied to sell outrageously expensive packages. In a word: fraud."
    And, she said, "It's one thing to sell steaks using a name as a marketing ploy. Trump's company intentionally put people at risk."
    Then, Clinton's Twitter feed transitioned into a broader attack on Trump -- arguing that "Trump's candidacy is built on his business 'credibility.' But his business record matches his character: His only concern is his own profit."
    "The Trump University con says a lot about Trump," Clinton wrote. "If you can't trust him with your personal finances—how can we trust him with our country?"
    The Twitter attack from Clinton's account didn't include any comments signed "-H" -- an indicator that the message came from Clinton herself.
    For his part, Trump has defended his namesake business school, blaming the judge in the case in a news conference Tuesday.
    "I have a judge who is very, very unfair. He knows he's unfair. And I'll win the Trump University case," he said. "I could settle that case. I could have settled it. I just choose not to. In fact, when I ran, they said, 'Why don't you settle up that case?' I don't want to settle the case."