CNN reporter hammers Trump U instructor: ‘Is that called ripping off an old couple?’
Former Trump University instructor James Harris told CNN’s Drew Griffin that his job was to upsell even if older people were “putting up their last dollar.”
During an interview that he will likely later regret, Harris beamed when Griffin pointed out that he was the “top guy” for bringing in revenue.
“Do you remember when you said this?” Griffin asked, quoting the former instructor: “I’m a former licensed agent/broker. At 29, I became the top 1 percent broker in the country. I’ve built homes in Atlanta, Georgia and I used to live in Beverly Hills.”
“Yes,” Harris replied. “If I said those things, they are true. I did live in Beverly Hills.”
“We have no record of you ever living in Beverly Hills,” Griffin pointed out.
“Okay,” Harris shrugged.
“We can’t find your broker’s license anywhere,” the CNN correspondent continued. “And I have no idea what homes you built in Atlanta, Georgia. Did you build homes in Georgia?”
“I’m not prepared to answer those questions today,” Harris stuttered.
“This is part of you pitch,” Griffin observed. “Is any of that true?”
“Again, I’m not going to answer those questions,” Harris repeated.
“Well, you certainly know what you’ve done in your life,” Griffin quipped. “What do you know about real estate?”
“Again, I’m not prepared to answer those questions today,” Harris said.
Pressing Harris, Griffin asked him to confirm that the Trump University business model was “upsell by upsell by upsell.”
“Kinda, sorta, yep,” Harris admitted. “It’s an upsell from if you pay this amount, we’re going to teach you this much; if you pay this amount, we’re going to go further with you.”
“Is that called ripping off an old couple?” Griffin wondered.
“That is sales,” the former Trump employee said. “I don’t know if those people had the money or not, they could have been putting up their last dollar. I don’t know.”
“Do you care?” Griffin shot back.
“Of course, we care,” Harris insisted. “But I was doing my job.”
“Regardless of if they could afford it or not?” the CNN reporter asked.
“Regardless if they could afford it or not,” Harris confirmed. “I don’t know if they could afford it or not. That was not my position, that was not my job. Other people did that. I don’t know if they could afford it or not. We were told to show them all the ways that they could afford it and could come up with the finances to get into the business. Period. End of story.”
Following the interview, Griffin speculated to CNN’s Poppy Harlow and Chris Cuomo about why Harris agreed to speak.
“He’s all over the Internet. He calls himself Uncle Jim and he likes to sell this idea that you could make so much money from home,” Griffin explained. “I think the guy just has a huge ego. He didn’t understand what was about to be happening in that CNN interview.”
“And many of us thought he would just get up and walk out,” the reporter added. “He stayed there, he answered the questions… sort of.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast July 13, 2016.