Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to take a thinly-veiled jab at President Donald Trump on Sunday during his virtual commencement address on Instagram. Schwarzenegger spoke generally to any college students graduating during the coronavirus pandemic, posting the speech himself online. He dug deep to snipe at one of Trump's older failed business ventures.
"You are celebrating that journey today. Not just a piece of paper that you hang on a wall," Schwarzenegger said at one point in his virtual speech. With that, he held up an honorary doctorate degree he received from Trump University — the failed online training program that Trump ran from 2005 to 2010. The "school" was ultimately forced to shut down amid allegations of fraud, and hit with a number of lawsuits. Schwarzenegger used this to illustrate the point that the diploma is not the point of a college education.
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Because of coronavirus, you are graduating into a world filled with obstacles, so I wanted you to know that no matter how successful you are, there will always be obstacles. But you can overcome and move toward your vision. Europeans don’t talk about medical issues much, we protect them like state secrets. Maybe it’s a sign I’m Americanized, but I wanted to share the story of my heart surgery going south four months before Terminator. I hope it gives you motivation in these hard times.
"This is nothing," Schwarzenegger said. "I mean we all have these pieces of paper, but let's be honest. This celebration, by the way, is not the end. Yes, it is the end of this particular chapter, but it is the beginning of your next climb. It is time to celebrate now, be in the moment, go all out, yes of course. But tomorrow, when this is all over, it's time to start developing your vision and it's time to start climbing toward your vision."
Trump University was still embroiled in lawsuits even when the president was elected back in 2016. It was never an accredited university or college, and generally offered five-day seminars with no officially recognized credits, certifications or licenses. Instead, it promised customers would learn the skills needed to get rich in the real estate industry.
Trump University was hit with three major lawsuits in its time — one from the New York State Department of Education, and two class action lawsuits from disgruntled customers. While Trump repeatedly stated that he would not settle any of the suits, he settled outside of court on all of them in November of 2016, paying a total of $25 million, according to a report by Fox News.
This is not the first time Schwarzenegger has spoken out against Trump, as the two have had an on-and-off public feud for the last several years. Trump is due to give his own commencement address to the students of the Westpoint Military Academy next month. So far, the president has not responded to Schwarzenegger's virtual commencement speech.