Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Oh, Omarosa, what will you now tout as your justification for aligning with our anti-black commander in chief?

We refer, of course, to the fact that the White House director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison has pumped up Donald Trump’s support of HBCUs with silly photo ops that really amount to nothing as evidence of his love for “the blacks.”


In reality, Trump signaled Friday that he may actually be taking money from black schools by not backing a 25-year-old federal program that helps HBCUs finance construction projects on their campuses—saying that it may be unconstitutional.

Politico reports that when signing the recent government-spending bill, Trump singled out the Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program as an example of provisions in the funding bill “that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender.”

Under the program, which was created by Congress in 1992, the Education Department provides federally backed loans to HBCUs for the construction of buildings and other facilities. The bill provides $20 million in federal loan subsidies in fiscal year 2017 to support as much as $282 million worth of financing to the schools, according to Politico.

HBCU advocates said that they were confused by the president’s wording.

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Cheryl Smith, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the United Negro College Fund, told Politico she is “puzzled by this provision and seeking clarification from the White House as to its meaning.”

She speculated that the “signing statement may simply be the Office of Management and Budget being overly cautious and perhaps not fully understanding this important distinction as it relates to HBCUs,” she said.

Derek W. Black, a law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law who studies constitutional and education law, called Trump’s reference to the HBCU program “rather odd.”

“If Congress is validly spending money on these programs, and there’s no court finding or litigation suggesting discrimination, the idea that the executive would unilaterally not allocate those funds would be a rather momentous position to take,” Black said. “The administration is basically putting us on notice that they think there might be a problem, and therefore they might have to exercise judgement in these programs.”

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He also said it was unusual that the statement referenced only “race, ethnicity and gender” and not “religion or disability.”

Read more at Politico.