California Sen. Kamala Harris had some choice words for Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz after he criticized Howard University’s cut of the $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package.
The Senate passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday to help boost the economy amid the deadly pandemic.
Gaetz, one of President Trump’s most loyal supporters, immediately took to Twitter to chime in with his objections to the $13 million earmarked for Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C. The Republican posted a photo on Twitter of the specific passage about Howard in the legislation’s language and circled it in red to highlight what he saw as a problem.
“$13,000,000 in taxpayer funds could be going to families across the nation struggling to put food on the table in the midst of COVID-19,” Gaetz tweeted. “Instead, it’s going to Howard University.”
The Florida representative added, “Education is important, but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief.”
Harris, a former Democratic presidential contender, hit back and defended her alma mater on Twitter.
“The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus,” she tweeted. “This is $13 million.” She also broke down the details almost to the last dollar.
“$13 million = .04% of $30 billion,” she added, and followed up by asking Gaetz a question.
“Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman?”
The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus. This is $13 million.
$13 million = .04% of $30 billion
Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman? https://t.co/7nyaijShhd
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) March 26, 2020
Gaetz, who has been accused of posting tweets with racial overtones in the past, did not reply to Harris as of Wednesday night. He simply dodged the question.
Washington Post reporter Gillian Brockell offered the congressman additional facts to help him understand why Howard University, a federally chartered university — which also runs Howard University Hospital — matters.
“Howard University has a hospital that has been designated one of DC’s covid-19 treatment facilities,” Brockell tweeted. “It is located 2.1 miles from Rep. Gaetz’s workplace.”
Howard University has a hospital that has been designated one of DC's covid-19 treatment facilities. It is located 2.1 miles from Rep. Gaetz's workplace. https://t.co/hsu8sTGUc1
— Gillian Brockell (@gbrockell) March 26, 2020
Gaetz finally moved on from Twitter and appeared on Fox News to complain about $350,000,000 in stimulus funds earmarked for “Migration and Refugee Assistance.”
The House is expected to pass the $2 trillion measure on Friday morning after a 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday.