“A lot of (businesses) will not survive. A lot of the restaurants will not survive. Just driving around sometimes you can see stores they’ve already closed up because they just couldn’t survive.”

Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, NC - Even after several rounds of PPP loans, North Carolina’s small businesses are continuing to struggle as the Trump administration bungles the distribution of federal relief funds.

In an interview with CBS 17, Gregg Thompson -- state director at the National Federation of Independent Businesses -- said loans to small businesses in North Carolina fell short in the initial distribution rounds, and as a result, many businesses “will not survive.”

“For a state, the 10th most populous state with over 900,000 small businesses, it should have been much higher in the first round,” Thompson said, referring to PPP loans to North Carolinians.

Meanwhile, as businesses shutter and North Carolina’s unemployment rate rises, the Trump administration is now trying to hide where the loans are going. Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reversed his earlier pledge for public transparency and said the Trump administration would not disclose which businesses were receiving PPP loans.

For months, reports about federal loans going to big businesses and firms with ties to the Trump administration. Over the weekend, even CNN’s Jake Tapper called the Trump administration’s handling of the loans and lack of transparency “as swampy a deal as I can ever imagine.”

“The Trump administration’s handling of loans through the Paycheck Protection Program has been a disaster from day one,” said NCDP Communications Director Austin Cook. “North Carolina’s small business community is being ignored while big firms with ties to the president are raking in millions of taxpayer dollars with no transparency or accountability. While our unemployment rate rises and businesses shutter, the Trump administration is handing out checks and won’t even tell the American people where their money is going.”

North Carolina’s unemployment rate nearly tripled from 4.3% in March to 12.2% in April, and more than one million people in the state have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic.

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