Trump reverses decision to cut funding for Special Olympics

US president overrides his team following outcry over proposed cuts to the programme

US president Donald Trump talks with reporters  on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

US president Donald Trump talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

 

US president Donald Trump overrode his budget team and backed funding for the Special Olympics on Thursday, after his proposed cuts to the athletic programme drew heavy fire from both Republicans and Democrats.

Mr Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, which he released earlier this month, would have zeroed out funding for the Special Olympics, which has an allocation of $17.6 million (€15.7 million) this fiscal year.

There was no sign that Congress was going to agree to defund the popular Special Olympics programme in spite of Mr Trump’s proposal. He had sought to cut funding last year as well, but politicians had added the funding back into the budget.

Education secretary Betsy DeVos had struggled to defend the proposal in testimony to Congress and both Mr Trump’s Republicans and opposition Democrats had denounced the move.

The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with disabilities.

Talking to reporters on the White House South Lawn on Thursday, Mr Trump said he had just heard about the controversy that morning.

“I’ve been to the Special Olympics, I think it’s incredible and I just authorised funding,” Mr Trump said. “I heard about it this morning. I have overridden my people. We’re funding the Special Olympics.” – Reuters