His support for black colleges remains 'unwavering'

Trump questions whether key funding source for historically black colleges is constitutionalMore

Trump questions whether key funding source for historically black colleges is constitutionalMore

With those words, Trump seems to be calling the constitutionality of funding such programs into question, with the United Negro College Fund issuing a statement, saying it's "puzzled" by the provision.

The Trump administration sent shockwaves through the historically black college community by suggesting in a statement on Friday night that a funding program for black college campuses may unconstitutionally allocate federal money on the basis of race.

In response, Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Cedric Richmond, D-La., who is chairman of the black caucus, said Trump's statement was "misinformed factually" and not "grounded in any serious constitutional analysis".

She writes, in part "I am surprised and troubled by Trump's signing statement".

This comes on the heels of President Trump inviting the presidents of all HBCUs to the White House for a meeting about the future of these historical colleges.

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"President Trump has identified certain provisions in the appropriations bill that could, in some circumstances, conflict with his constitutional authority and duties. The brief, routine signing statement simply indicates that the President will interpret those provisions consistent with the Constitution".

The program, created by Congress in 1992, allows the Department of Education to offer federally backed loans to HBCUs to construct new buildings. In a statement, Johnny Taylor, the president of the HBCU advocacy group the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said he had received assurances that "there was absolutely no plan to eliminate or challenge this program".

"The administration is basically putting us on notice", Derek W. Black, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, told Politico.

Black also pointed out to Politico that religion or disability weren't included on the list, wondering why only "race, ethnicity and gender" were listed in the statement.

In February, Trump invited more than 60 HBCU presidents into the Oval Office, where he signed an executive order proclaiming his support of the schools.

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