Trump’s at it again, defunding the Special Olympics

Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon. Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

By Jessie Garrison
Associate Opinion Editor

President Donald Trump’s latest controversy is his 2020 budget proposal. In his proposal he proposed an 18 million dollar cut to the Special Olympics. Richard J. Durbin, Senates Number 2 Democrat, asked Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, if she supported the fund cut. DeVos avoided the question. She responded by saying, it is her “responsibility to present the budget…I said then and I’ll say again. We had to make tough choices and decisions around the budget priorities.

What tough choices did the administration have to make? DeVos followed  by saying, “elected to hold harmless for Title One [schools] and funding for English language learners. Knowing that that is going to reach the greatest number of students.” According to, hold harmless means “assume the liability and risk that may arise. Trump’s administration will take the responsibility for any consequences that may arise with Title One schools and English language learners.

So, here’s my issues with the whole thing. One I have a big issue with cutting funds to all education programs. Title One schools already do not have enough resources. While English language learners also need resources to be better equipped in America. But I guess if they are assuming liability then I can let it slide for this article. I still have a huge problem with the administration defunding the Special Olympics.

People who have disabilities are already underrepresented. Look at Hollywood, the government, higher education, the lack of representation is astonishing. But, Millersville is working to combat the lack of representation. Students will disabilities are able to attend through Millersville’s Integrated Studies program. Nonetheless, Disability Month was not even taught in schools. But it’s okay, right? Because DeVos, in the same interaction, “Loves the Special Olympics. I have given a portion of my salary to Special Olympics.”

DeVos then skews the conversation. She tells Durbin, “let’s not use disabled children in a twisted way for your political narrative.” Now I am no politician, nor am I an expert on political science or the way administrations work. I do not think asking DeVos if she supports defunding the Special Olympics is part of a political narrative.  I would want either party to question the sanity of anyone cutting the funds.

Why are we defunding a program that gives people the spotlight they deserve? I don’t even think this is an issue of what political party people follow. This is about the continued effort to make people with disabilities invisible. To alienate them from the rest of the world.

Trump had DeVos spend close to a week defending his proposal. Afterwards, in a video interview Trump changed his narrative. During the interview, he chose to keep the Special Olympics funded. I can’t help and question whether his actions was a publicity stunt. Either way, I agree with Durbin when he said the administration won the “Special Olympic Gold Medal for insensitivity.”