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After flying in HBCU leaders to The White House to sign an executive order that would prioritize these universities and colleges, Trump could be reneging on his promise.
According to Politico, #45 signaled on Friday that he may not implement a 25-year-old federal program that helps historically black colleges finance construction projects on their campuses, suggesting that it could go against the U.S. Constitution. When signing the $1.1 trillion government spending bill, Trump brought up the HBCU Capital Financing Program as an example of provisions in the funding bill “that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender.”
Created in 1992 by Congress, this program provides $20 million in federal loan subsidies in fiscal year 2017 to support as much as $282 million worth of financing to the schools, Politico noted.
#45 said that his administration would treat those programs “in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the law under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.”’
Obviously this confused HBCU leaders and supporters (along with us).
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Cheryl Smith, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the United Negro College Fund, said in a statement that the organization is “puzzled by this provision and seeking clarification from the White House as to its meaning.”
“[Perhaps] signing statement may simply be the Office of Management and Budget being overly cautious and perhaps not fully understanding this important distinction as it relates to HBCUs,” she hypothesized.
Derek W. Black, a law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, called the statement “rather odd.”
“If Congress is validly spending money on these programs, and there’s no court finding or litigation suggesting discrimination, the idea that the executive would unilaterally not allocate those funds would be a rather momentous position to take,” he said.
He added: “The administration is basically putting us on notice that they think there might be a problem, and therefore they might have to exercise judgement in these programs.”
Whatever the case: We just want to know what White House aide and Trump fan Omarosa thinks of this.