The man who once famously said, “I love the poorly educated,” apparently has a big problem with higher education.
In two tweets, the president said he was telling the Treasury Department to “re-examine” the tax-exempt status of colleges and universities if they use “propaganda or act against public policy.”
Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020
... and/or Funding, which will be taken away if this Propaganda or Act Against Public Policy continues. Our children must be Educated, not Indoctrinated!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020
But Trump’s proposal to eliminate tax-exempt status for educational institutions that supposedly indoctrinate students may not pass legal muster.
The “advocacy of a particular position or viewpoint” can qualify as educational for tax purposes “if there is a sufficiently full and fair exposition of pertinent facts to permit an individual or the public to form an independent opinion or conclusion,” according to IRS policy reported by Politico.
Many Twitter users also took issue with the president’s tweets.
America wants to investigate YOUR tax-exempt status. https://t.co/3fO2QZe854— Dan Rather (@DanRather) July 10, 2020
I'm old enough to remember when conservatives went crazy when they thought the IRS was targeting right-wing organizations for political purposes. No doubt, they will all loudly express their indignation over this. https://t.co/Lfn1a5v6KH— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) July 10, 2020
Real politburo crap here. You do NOT get to define what education is or is not. You do not get to mandate what we say, think, read or how we express ourselves. You do not control our bodies, our minds, our beliefs, or our sexual preferences. @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/wK0YqpOY26— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) July 10, 2020
The would-be dictator wants to withhold funding based on the content of speech. So much for the Constitution. https://t.co/AOFAbvIeQU— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 10, 2020
He's hoping news organizations cover this empty threat today instead of his refusal/inability to read his daily intelligence briefs containing real threats like Putin paying to kill American troops. https://t.co/AwiCnAk4lg— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) July 10, 2020
No one gets to bitch about "cancel culture" after this overt threat by the sitting president against all higher ed institutions that aren't an iteration of Liberty U because he disagrees with some professors' politics ⬇️ https://t.co/t1GBSkPdez— Fiddler (@cFidd) July 10, 2020
Dude who had someone take his SATs doesn't understand higher learning. I am shocked.— Jerry James Stone (@jerryjamesstone) July 10, 2020
No wonder he created that sham Trump University. https://t.co/apHVGbvYX3
One person gently suggested that the president might want to rethink his plan.
Good luck with this one at the Supreme Court. You’ve been racking up loss after loss lately, you really want to go again? https://t.co/BZeICpcKoB— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) July 10, 2020
HuffPost reached out to the Treasury Department for comment.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.