WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said he would jettison a proposal to slash funding for the Special Olympics, undercutting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the budget proposal he signed.
“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. We’re funding the Special Olympics.”
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.
Trump, in his comments on Thursday, offered no additional information about whether his administration will commit to funding the entire $17.6 million Special Olympics had been getting and whether it will be protected from future proposed reductions.
After Trump made the announcement, DeVos thanked the president and said they see “eye to eye” on this, adding she pushed him to change his stance on funding the program.
Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, also voiced her support after Trump’s remarks, saying on Twitter: “Love the @SpecialOlympics!” Karen Pence led the U.S. delegation to this year’s Special Olympics World Games in the United Arab Emirates.