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CNN's Cooper: DeVos silence on Special Olympics questions 'painful and awkward'

CNN’s Anderson Cooper laughed on the air Thursday night over Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Biden administration reversing Trump ban on pandemic aid for undocumented students Biden taps ex-consumer bureau chief to oversee student loans MORE’s “epic nonresponse” to a reporter's question on her proposed budget cuts to Special Olympics.

Ryan Nobles, CNN’s Washington correspondent, earlier had questioned DeVos as she was waiting for an elevator following testimony on plans to cut funding for the program.

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Nobles asked the Trump official a number of questions, but DeVos ignored them and shifted her gaze between one of her aides and the CNN camera.

“Oh my god, that was so painful and awkward,” Cooper laughed about the encounter. “I love the camera, after focusing on the back of her head — the camera person moves around.  And then she’s looking at, I assume someone who works for her, for some sort of saving.”

“But the other person was just like ‘Uh I’m not saying another word either,’ ” Cooper continued. “That’s an epic nonresponse.”

 

Cooper noted how some lawmakers would dodge reporters by pretending to be on the phone, but DeVos did not even try that.

“That was something,” the host added with a final laugh. “Let’s keep that on hold for later use, just bring it up every now and then.”

DeVos faced widespread criticism from both major parties after her department’s budget proposal for the 2020 fiscal year did not include Special Olympics funding, which amounted to $17.6 million in cuts.

The secretary defended the decision to Senate appropriators, saying she loves the program and that she had given a portion of her salary to the 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.”

President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE on Thursday, however, overruled DeVos and vowed to fund the “incredible" program. 

"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."