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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.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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

Go deeper

Updated Jul 31, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus testing still can't keep up with demand

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Testing is once again becoming a critical weakness in the America's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and experts say we may need to revive tighter standards about who can get a test.

Why it matters: Although testing has gotten a lot better over the course of the pandemic, the pandemic has gotten worse, and that means the U.S. needs to prioritize its resources — which might mean that frequent testing solely to help open businesses or schools just isn't feasible.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jul 31, 2020 - Economy & Business

Health care industry tops list of most-favored amid coronavirus

Data: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals

Doctors, nurses and hospitals have experienced a greater increase in consumer trust and confidence than any other industry during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Axios/Harris poll.