WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said he would jettison a proposal to slash funding for the Special Olympics, undercutting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“The Special Olympics will be funded. I just told my people I want to fund the Special Olympics,” Trump said he left the White House en route to a political rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. “I have overridden my people.”
Trump’s remarks came after widespread criticism targeted DeVos’ budget proposal to eliminate funding for the program, which is designed to help children and adults with disabilities.
DeVos’ proposed $17.6 million cut for the Special Olympics was included in the $4.75 trillion federal budget that President Donald Trump’s administration sent to Congress earlier this month.
It’s not just Special Olympics facing the budget ax.
More: Five things to know about the federal budget process
Trump seeks dramatic across-the-board spending cuts to domestic programs for the coming fiscal year. An exception: the military, which would get a 5 percent increase under his proposal.
“Get rid of the fat, get rid of the waste,” Trump had instructed his Cabinet.
DeVos, however, proposed additional funding for a few programs, including charter schools and a tax credit for individuals and companies that donate to scholarships for private schools.
DeVos said she had to make some hard decisions after the president demanded across-the-board cuts and has had to defend her cuts to members of Congress, where she’s faced days of being grilled.
For DeVos, a supporter of school choice, those decisions meant eliminating federal funding for Special Olympics – a program designed to help children and adults with disabilities – while spending millions more on charter schools.
The education secretary explained her rationale by saying the Special Olympics is a private organization – not a federal program – that is better supported by philanthropy.
The cuts have not gone into effect yet and don’t have a strong chance of passing in Congress