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Reporter nails Trump for hypocritical donation to department he's trying to cut

Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes massive cuts to the Department of Education, which he apparently thinks he can offset with a comparatively minuscule donation. As the Washington Post reported in May, the stark proposal includes “a $27 million arts education program; two programs targeting Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students, totaling $65 million; two international […]

By Eric Boehlert - July 26, 2017
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NBC News national correspondent Peter Alexander
NBC News national correspondent Peter Alexander

As the Washington Post reported in May, the stark proposal includes “a $27 million arts education program; two programs targeting Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students, totaling $65 million; two international education and foreign language programs, $72 million; a $12 million program for gifted students; and $12 million for Special Olympics education programs.”

The colossal 13 percent funding decrease would also mean $2.3 billion less for a teaching training and class-size reduction program, and $1.2 billion less for an after-school program that helps nearly two million children.

But no worries, kids: Trump is donating the second quarter of his annual salary to the department — a whole $100,000!

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos showed up at Wednesday’s White House press briefing to accept the check from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and to thank Trump for his “generous gift.”

But NBC’s Peter Alexander was quick to point out the hypocrisy, pressing Sanders on why Trump would donate his own money to the department while also calling for such massive budgetary cuts.

Sanders claimed the budget cuts were about trying to “streamline the process” of education funding, because “we simply have a government that’s completely out of control when it comes to spending.”

She insisted that Trump is “committed to education.”

ALEXANDER: You just announced the president is donating his second quarter salary of $100,000 to the Department of Education, so clearly he must care about education. Why, then, is he calling for $9.2 billion in spending cuts to the Department of Education in the next budget?

SANDERS: Look, I think that often times, you have a lot of duplicative efforts, and they want to streamline the process. And we simply have a government that’s completely out of control when it comes to spending. We have an outrageous deficit, and we’re looking to make things — that we have a balanced budget in the next ten years. The president campaigned on it, he’s committed to seeing it through. But he’s also committed to education, as you can see by his own personal commitment, and looking for ways that we can save and continue on to make education better, passing some of that decision-making down to more local and state control, and it’s something we’re certainly supportive of.

If Trump believes that a $100,000 donation can compensate for $9.2 billion in cuts, perhaps the Education Department is one he may want to keep around for a while.

And if he were truly “committed to education,” he would not put multiple crucial programs which serve teachers and students across the nation, on the chopping block.

Nor would he have nominated a woman to head the department whose key qualification — nearly her only qualification — was her readiness to go along with such destructive schemes.


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