Education secretary Betsy DeVos has had a less than stellar time during her tenure under Trump, and surprise, surprise—it’s not getting any better.
In an attempt to make cuts for her proposed 2020 budget, DeVos wants to cut the $18 million in federal funding for the Special Olympics. She drew lots of backlash from the aisle, especially Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan who was completely against the idea. In typical Devos fashion, when asked if she knew how many people who be affected by the defunding, she had no clue how many.
“I’ll answer it for you, that’s OK, no problem,” Pocan said. “It’s 272,000 kids that are affected.”
Pocan went on to delve deeper into Devos’ proposed budget cuts, which include a 26 percent reduction to state grants for special education and millions of dollars in cuts to programs for students who are blind.
The defunding hits close to home, as the Democratic Rep cited that his own nephews are autistic, but Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. had similar feelings on Tuesday, saying, “I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. You zero that out. It’s appalling.”
According to NBC News, an administrator attempt to smooth things over by acknowledging that DeVos donates her entire salary—which is around 200,000—and part of it goes to the Special Olympics.
The sports world has come to the defense of the Special Olympics, noting its importance in the competitive landscape. ESPN’s Tony Reali and Kevin Negandhi took to Twitter to express their support. Negandhi mentions some of the athletes he’s had the privilege of working with over the last 5 years thanks to his involvement with the Special Olympics.
Reali, who hosts Around The Horn, had similar thoughts recognizes how important inclusion is for marginalized groups.