U.S. President Donald Trump hosts an event on reopening schools amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 7, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump ramped up his pressure campaign to get public schools to fully reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting Wednesday that he may withhold federal funding from schools that do not resume in-person classes this fall.
The tweet was the latest step in an administration-wide effort to convince schools nationwide that the risks of not reopening for in-person classes outweigh those posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has reached new record levels across the country in recent weeks.
Shortly after the first tweet, Trump attacked his own administration’s health guidelines for reopening schools, calling them tough, expensive and impractical.
The tweet represents an escalation of Trump’s battle with his own health experts over how to reopen the country.
On Tuesday, Trump and other top officials, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, hosted a series of conference calls and public events where they argued that partial reopenings, which blend in-person and online learning, were unacceptable.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Trump said at a White House event Tuesday afternoon. “It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.