Trump sought to gut funding for a group of U.S. schools tied to Erdogan's political foe: report

Trump sought to gut funding for a group of U.S. schools tied to Erdogan's political foe: report
President Donald J. Trump talks with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the leaders lounge at the G20 Japan Summit Friday, June 28, 2019, in Osaka, Japan. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump’s administration explored cutting federal taxpayer funding to a very select group of over 130 charter schools that are tied to the political opponent of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan. The previously-unreported attempt took place in 2017, just before Trump was to hold his first meeting with the Turkish authoritarian dictator.

Ultimately, the Trump White House felt they could not appropriately justify gutting the funding for just schools associated with exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania, Bloomberg News reports. The administration dropped its attempts.

Bloomberg adds that “one of the people who took an interest in the matter was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani,” who now serves as Trump’s personal attorney and is embroiled in his Ukraine extortion scandal. Giuliani worked to get the Trump administration to extradite Gulen, which might create a legal problem for Giuliani if he is found to have been acting as a foreign agent.

“The episode shows how Erdogan, from the start of Trump’s administration, has appealed to the U.S. president. He has twice persuaded Trump to withdraw U.S. forces in Syria, against the advice of American military officials.”

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