The Department of Education’s efforts to eliminate roughly $18 million federal funding for the Special Olympics sparked bipartisan uproar and a whole lot of bad press. Now, however, President Trump has intervened and pledged to maintain funding.
Outside of the White House, President Trump told reporters: “The Special Olympics will be funded, I just told my people, ‘I want to fund the Special Olympics.’ I have overridden my people.”
The attempted funding cut comes as the Department of Education is trying to tighten its belt. Trump has proposed that the Department of Education’s funding be reduced by $7.1 billion dollars or roughly 10 percent of the Department’s budget.
Previously, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had argued that the Special Olympics is a private organization and can raise funding through donations. Previously, DeVos had argued against cutting funding, according to Politico. However, with so many billions on the chopping block, cuts had to come from somewhere.
DeVos had publicly defended the Special Olympics cuts, which lead to widespread criticism. Following Trump’s decision, DeVos released a statement: “I am pleased and grateful the President and I see eye to eye on this issue and that he has decided to fund our Special Olympics grant. This is funding I have fought for behind the scenes over the last several years.”
The cuts to the Special Olympics were only a proposal. Congress ultimately decides to fund and while the president can propose budgets, he has no authority to determine funding. Still, the proposed cuts painted the Trump administration in a bad light. And President Trump is known to despise bad press.