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 TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities 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 DeVosLA, San Diego school systems to start year with online-only classes Cuomo unveils plan for school reopenings in New York Nearly 60 universities file brief backing challenge to ICE rule on foreign students 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."