President Trump Backs Off Proposal to Cut Federal Funding for Special Olympics

"The Special Olympics will be funded. I just told my people, ‘I want to fund the Special Olympics,'" President Donald Trump said Thursday. 
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President Donald Trump backed off his administration's proposal to cut federal funding for Special Olympics for the 2020 fiscal year, saying his budget would fund the program. 

"The Special Olympics will be funded. I just told my people, ‘I want to fund the Special Olympics,'" Trump told reporters outside the White House on Thursday, according to The Hill. "I heard about it this morning. I have overridden my people. We’re funding the Special Olympics."

Special Olympics, which was founded in 1968, helps children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Trump called the event "incredible," saying he'd been personally.

Trump's comments come after U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos defended $17.6 million in proposed cuts to Special Olympics in a Tuesday appearance before Congress, the body that ultimately determines spending levels. 

"We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget," DeVos said Tuesday, adding she believes the program is better supported by "the philanthropic sector." 

On Wednesday, after the proposed cuts sparked outcry, DeVos issued a statement saying she supported Special Olympics, but that "the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations."

The Trump administration also proposed cutting funding for Special Olympics each of the last two years, but Congress ended up funding the program.