The $2.2 trillion stimulus package making up the CARES Act, which passed last month, represents the most expensive economic rescue package in United States history.
It wasn't without good reason.
The global pandemic that has upended daily life in the United States has left millions suddenly unemployed and left hundreds of thousands of businesses shuttered indefinitely.
One allocation in the package is the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, which allocates over $300 billion for small businesses. This fund has been depleted, largely because of a lack of oversight that left loopholes which allowed large companies like Shake Shack to receive funds meant for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
At a recent press briefing, President Donald Trump appeared to think that Harvard University was one of the recipients of funds allocated in PPP.
President Trump: "I want Harvard to pay the money back, okay? If they won't do that, then we won't do something els… https://t.co/QgpbEW7wG6— The Hill (@The Hill) 1587510723.0
"They have to pay it back. I don't like it. I don't like it. This is meant for workers. This isn't meant for one of the richest institutions—far beyond schools—in the world. They gotta pay it back. I want them to pay it back."
Trump has apparently forgotten the contents of a bill he himself signed into law.
Harvard did receive $8.6 million in funding, but not from PPP.
Small businesses have to apply to the Paycheck Protection Program in order to receive a small business loan. Harvard received its money from a completely separate entity in the bill: the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
Harvard didn't lobby to receive this money but, like all colleges who received it, had to sign a pledge of how it would be used. This pledge mandates that at least 50% go directly toward student services.
All of the funds received by Harvard are going toward students.
Harvard didn't hesitate to point this out in a statement directed at Trump.
(1/5) Harvard did not apply for, nor has it received any funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Pay… https://t.co/M38SaR3ffp— Harvard University (@Harvard University) 1587510927.0
(2/5) President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that we… https://t.co/rFOaLZKpDq— Harvard University (@Harvard University) 1587510927.0
(3/5) Like most colleges and universities, Harvard has been allocated funds as part of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.— Harvard University (@Harvard University) 1587510927.0
(4/5) Harvard has committed that 100% of these emergency higher education funds will be used to provide direct assi… https://t.co/PaH3vcCWTw— Harvard University (@Harvard University) 1587510928.0
(5/5) This financial assistance will be on top of the support the University has already provided to students – inc… https://t.co/plPDFL7FMF— Harvard University (@Harvard University) 1587510928.0
Yet again, the accusations lobbed by Trump were baseless falsehoods.
Another lie from @realDonaldTrump , aka #LiarAndCheif. https://t.co/ziS2Ksoksi— wxwmom (@wxwmom) 1587570681.0
So trump lied again https://t.co/CmxEH2CSCX— Swan (@Swan) 1587514565.0
.@realDonaldTrump once again demonstrating his lack of understanding of basic facts. https://t.co/9f6sYkHZMa— Fed Up (@Fed Up) 1587529784.0
Sadly, bashing educational institutions—and education itself—plays well in Republican circles.
Trump's sycophants soon began feigning outrage that Harvard received relief funding—Including Republicans who voted for the bill that allowed it.
Why is Harvard getting a $8.6 million #coronavirus stimulus when they have a $40 billion endowment? The President… https://t.co/papGD7KqdY— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Rep. Jim Jordan) 1587571519.0
#Harvard has no intention of giving the $$$ back and this is EXACTLY why Americans don’t trust big govt spending. W… https://t.co/4RRZiEE59o— Trish Regan (@Trish Regan) 1587562959.0
Department of Education should adopt a rule now that stops federal aid to universities with massive endowments (lik… https://t.co/BIOTGyWSQX— Josh Hawley (@Josh Hawley) 1587573204.0
How fortunate that Republicans have found a new, imaginary, liberal enemy: an Ivy League school.