Updated Apr 22, 2020 - Health

Trump says Harvard "is going to return" stimulus money

President Donald Trump answers questions from the media during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 21

President Trump during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus on Tuesday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Harvard issued a statement denying the university had accepted stimulus money meant for small businesses after President Trump said Tuesday the school should return federal funding.

Driving the news: A reporter asked at Tuesday's White House briefing if other big businesses would be asked to return federal government dollars after Shake Shack announced Sunday the chain would hand back its entire $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan. "Harvard’s going to pay back the money," Trump said.

"They shouldn’t be taking it. When I saw Harvard — they have one of the largest saw endowments anywhere in the country, maybe the world. They’re going to pay back the money."

Of note: Harvard is due to receive $8.7 million in federal money from the Education Department via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

What they're saying: Harvard said in its statement the university is "choosing to direct 100% of the funds to financial assistance to students, and will not be using any of the funds to cover institutional costs."

  • ”Harvard did not apply for, nor has it received any funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. Reports saying otherwise are inaccurate," the school said.
  • "President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that were designated for struggling small businesses."

What he's saying: Trump doubled down on his comments in a tweet late Wednesday.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's tweet.

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