Barely days after at least two top universities announced they are suing him, President Donald Trump on Friday attacked America's universities and school systems and threatened to revoke their tax-exempt status.
Claiming they are engaging in "Radical Left Indoctrination," "Propaganda," and "Act[ing] Against Public Policy," Trump claimed he would order the Treasury Dept. to "re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status."
... and/or Funding, which will be taken away if this Propaganda or Act Against Public Policy continues. Our childre… https://t.co/iKdPVOHqh7— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1594396181.0
This week Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), two venerable institutions of higher learning, announced they are suing the administration after Trump's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced students legally in the U.S. on student visas will be deported if their classes go online and they do not switch to schools that require in-person classroom learning.
Trump's threat is a transparent attempt to force all schools across the nation to re-open in the fall despite the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday the president claimed "they" don't want to let schools re-open, which he called an attempt to hurt his re-election chances.
“We have to get our schools open, and stop this political nonsense," Trump insisted. "And it’s only political nonsense.”
While it's unlikely Trump can actually revoke their tax-exempt status, both schools, and many others, are awarded government contracts for research, which could be pulled, as the Trump administration has done in the past.
Ethics expert Walter Shaub responded by calling Trump a "would-be dictator" who "wants to withhold funding based on the content of speech. So much for the Constitution."
This is a breaking news and developing story.