BOSTON (CBS/AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold federal funding if schools don’t reopen in the fall, and he lashed out at federal health officials over school reopening guidelines that he says are impractical and expensive. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker reacted to the threat at a news conference, calling a uniform approach to reopening “inappropriate.”
“I think it’s inappropriate for the feds to think about this as a one-size-fits-all,” Baker said.
Taking to Twitter to voice his frustration, Trump argued that countries including Germany, Denmark and Norway have reopened schools “with no problems.” The Republican president also repeated his claim that Democrats want to keep schools closed for political reasons and not because of any risks associated with the coronavirus.
In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2020
“The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election,” Trump said, “but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”
The Trump administration has pushed for a full reopening of the nation’s schools, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying anything less would be a failure. But some of the nation’s largest districts plan to bring back limited numbers of students for only a few days a week, saying it would be unsafe for all students to return at once.
Massachusetts is expecting each school district to prepare for three possibilities: a full-scale return to the classroom, remote learning or a combination of the two. The governor said potential federal edicts “don’t make a lot of sense.”
“Facts on the grounds are going to be different depending upon where you are,” Baker said. “The goal here ought to be to provide the kind of support that the feds believe will make it most likely for school districts and for communities to succeed in reopening their schools.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)