Trump singles out historically black college funds in signing statement

Story highlights

  • Trump signed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill Friday
  • Signing statements are often used to flag provisions an administration might disregard

Washington (CNN)The White House pushed back Sunday on questions about a signing statement President Donald Trump added to the latest government spending bill Friday that said his administration would treat minority spending programs -- including one to help historically black colleges pay for construction -- in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

The signing statement "simply indicates that the President will interpret those provisions consistent with the Constitution" and is not dissimilar to signing statements issued by past presidents, a White House official said Sunday.
"The important thing to realize is: The President was able to secure big wins for his top priorities in this spending bill, including more than $25 billion in additional funding for the military, $1.52 billion for border security, a permanent extension of health coverage for retired miners, and a three-year extension of the DC school choice program," the official said.
    Trump signed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill Friday, adding the statement: "My administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender ... in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment."
    Those programs included historically black college financing, Native American housing block grants and minority business development, the statement said.
    Such statements are often used to flag provisions an administration might disregard.
    The aim of the Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program is provide low-cost capital to finance improvements to the infrastructure of the nation's historically black colleges and universities, including for the repair or construction of classrooms, libraries, dormitories and the like, according to the Department of Education.