Trump: 'The Special Olympics will be funded'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE said Thursday that he's overruled his administration officials who sought to zero out funding for the Special Olympics in their budget proposal.

"The Special Olympics will be funded. I just told my people, ‘I want to fund the special Olympics,' " Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a campaign rally in Michigan.

"I heard about it this morning,” he added. “I have overridden my people. We’re funding the Special Olympics."

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump added that he's been to the sporting event personally, calling it "incredible."

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosTrump awards Jon Voight, others National Medal of Arts Education Department releases wage, debt data for specific college majors DeVos forgives 1,500 student loans amid federal lawsuit MORE has faced mounting scrutiny from lawmakers in both major parties after the department's budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 did not include funding for the program.

The Education Department's proposal was unlikely to go forward in Congress given the widespread opposition to the $17.6 million in cuts to the program.

Trump reversed his administration's position nevertheless, undermining DeVos hours after she had defended the decision to Senate appropriators.

"I love Special Olympics," Devos said. "I have given a portion of my salary to Special Olympics. I hope all of this debate inspires private contributions to Special Olympics."

A day earlier, DeVos issued a statement that said she supported the program but that "the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations.”

She has chastised the media and lawmakers, suggesting they were twisting the funding debate for political purposes.

But members of Congress were largely united in their opposition to the move.

“Whoever came up with that idea at [the Office of Management and Budget] gets a Special Olympic Gold Medal for insensitivity,” Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban Trump, senators push for drug price disclosures despite setbacks Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' MORE (Ill.), the Senate Democratic whip, told DeVos at Thursday's hearing.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Trump signs short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown | Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 | California high court strikes down law targeting Trump tax returns McCarthy blasts Pelosi on USMCA The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Witness dismisses 'fictional' GOP claims of Ukraine meddling MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters that he disagreed with the funding request and that he "fully" supports the program.

After Trump announced the reversal, DeVos reportedly applauded his decision in a statement, saying she and the president "see eye-to-eye on this issue."

Updated at 5:03 p.m.