President Donald Trump says he has overruled his education secretary and others and will fund the Special Olympics.
“I’ve been to the Special Olympics. I think it’s incredible,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Thursday.
The Special Olympics give physically and mentally challenged athletes in the United States and elsewhere the chance to compete in Olympic-style sports and other games.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose agency funds the games, created a national firestorm this week when she announced she was cutting nearly $18 million from the games as part of the Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal.
DeVos defended the cuts, saying although she supports and loves the Special Olympics, the games are not a federal program and receive millions in private and corporate donations.
She said the federal government cannot give grants to every worthy program.
DeVos issued a statement Thursday saying she is pleased the games will be funded, and said she had privately fought for the grants to continue.
Lawmakers from both parties said cuts for the games would not have gotten through Congress.
The Trump administration had proposed eliminating federal grants for the Special Olympics in the 2019 budget, but Congress rejected the idea.