Trump University, which shut down in 2011 after multiple investigations and student complaints, was treated as a joke by many of Trump’s political opponents — much as they treated Trump Steaks or Trump Vodka. But to those who knew the school well, it wasn’t a joke.

It was a premonition.

The saga of Trump University showed how far Trump would go to deny, rather than fix, a problem, they said — a tactic they have now seen him reuse as president many times, including now, in the face of a worsening pandemic. For months, President Trump promised something wonderful but extremely unlikely — that the virus would soon disappear…

“It’s something I think about all the time,” said Tristan Snell, who was the lead attorney for the New York state attorney general’s office in a lawsuit against Trump University. Snell said the school “had a fulfillment problem”: It could not deliver on the enriching real estate secrets it promised.

“Maybe that’s a good metaphor for what’s happening in America is that we have a fulfillment problem,” he said. “You’ve sold X and Y and Z and you can’t actually fulfill the order.”