Donald J. Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, released a video on Monday responding to a slew of attack advertisements that featured former students of the now-defunct Trump University. The ads were produced by the American Future Fund, a conservative group.
Mr. Trump is facing two class-action lawsuits by former Trump University students and one lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, which claim Trump University intentionally misled more than 5,000 students into paying as much as $35,000 apiece for seminars and mentorship programs.
The lawsuits have supplied fuel for political opponents. In a speech last week, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, called Mr. Trump’s promises “as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
In his video Mr. Trump responds to comments by Mr. Romney and the Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
“There’s been so much talk by dishonest people about Trump University or Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, and I thought I should set the record straight,” Mr. Trump says in the video. “No. 1, it’s something I could have settled numerous times. I just don’t believe in settling, especially when you’re right.”
Mr. Trump then displays student evaluations of Trump University seminars. In one, a former student, Robert Guillo, ranks a seminar he attended as “excellent” — the highest rating — for all categories. In an advertisement where Mr. Guillo is identified as a “victim” of Trump University, the former student had said he was “duped by the Donald” and paid $35,000 for the seminars.
In an interview with The Chronicle last week, Mr. Guillo conceded that he had given the seminar top marks in his evaluation, but he said that he had done so at the request of the instructor, who wanted to be invited back to present at future seminars. Mr. Guillo said he had filled out the evaluation in the same way he fills out surveys at TGI Fridays.
“My attitude is, if a server doesn’t spill hot coffee on me or isn’t really nasty, I’m always going to give them the top rating,” he said. “That’s the same way I felt [about the Trump University instructor]. This guy seemed like a good guy. I was not rating the quality of the presentation. I was rating the instructor themselves.”