Top White House aide: Trump decided to fund Special Olympics because 'the public wanted' it

The acting White House chief of staff said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE changed his mind about cutting Special Olympics funding last week because he realized the public wanted it.

"What did the president do? The president simply listened to people. That's what he does. When the president realized the public wanted this money, he made the change. This is what he does. It's his budget," Mulvaney said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates DeVos aide overseeing student loans quits board amid scrutiny MORE faced two congressional hearings last week where she defended cuts to Special Olympics funding in her department's 2020 budget proposal. The proposal would have eliminated $17.6 million in funding to the program. 

Following those contentious hearings and massive public outcry, Trump announced last Thursday that the program would be funded.

"The Special Olympics will be funded. I just told my people, ‘I want to fund the special Olympics,' " Trump told reporters.

Mulvaney, who is also the director of the Office of Management and Budget, also addressed reports that the Education Department had initially argued against the cuts and that Trump ultimately overruled Mulvaney. He said "debates" over proposals "go on all the time" within the Trump administration. 

"Yes, we have disagreements among ourselves. I hope that people would encourage that. We're not simply running around a bunch of 'yes' people not discussing anything," he said. "The president makes the final determination. He made the change; we're happy to move forward from here."