Key Words: As scores of public companies get small-business aid, Trump vows to take back money if help was ‘inappropriate’
At least 75 companies receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans are publicly traded
‘If somebody got something that we think is inappropriate, we’ll get it back. OK? Good — good point.’
— President Donald Trump
The line above came from President Donald Trump after a reporter asked about how a coronavirus aid program for small businesses has been helping big companies and Harvard University, which has a $40 billion endowment.
Banks have been making the Paycheck Protection Program loans, and “they’re supposed to do it according to not only criteria, but according to what we think is right,” Trump said, while speaking Monday night at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing.
“I know one thing: I didn’t get any. That’s for sure,” the president said of the assistance. “We’ll look at individual things, and some people will have to return it if we think it’s inappropriate.”
There have been concerns over the program being set up so big restaurant chains can get PPP money. Shake Shack Inc.
on Monday said it was returning its $10 million loan.
Other big restaurant companies that have disclosed getting PPP aid include Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc.
, which received a $20 million loan, and Potbelly Corp.
, which got a $10 million loan. Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc.
subsidiary Texas Taco Cabana also received a $10 million loan.
At least 75 companies that have received PPP aid were publicly traded, even as the program is supposed to assist small businesses that typically have less access to quick cash and credit, said an Associated Press report.
The PPP initially received $350 billion last month in the $2.2 trillion aid package known as the CARES Act. The program ran out of money Thursday. The Trump administration and congressional leaders on Tuesday appeared to have reached a deal that would replenish it.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has stressed that 74% of PPP loans have been for less than $150,000, saying that demonstrated “the accessibility of this program to even the smallest of small businesses.”