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 TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies 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 DeVosCriminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid Buttigieg to Detroit audience: Don't judge Indiana by Pence and we won't judge Michigan by DeVos For-profit colleges — but not their student 'customers' — have a friend in Betsy DeVos 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."