Just days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was taken to task for suggesting cutting Special Olympics funding, the Trump Administration has reversed course. The move is seemingly directed by the president himself, although it’s always a difficult question to answer whether the president’s feelings translate into tangible policy.
President Trump responds to news that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was proposing a cut to Special Olympics funding: “I just authorized a funding of the Special Olympics. … I have overridden my people, we’re funding the Special Olympics” https://t.co/Xk2PkovwDu pic.twitter.com/Kg0tmw7XzU
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— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2019
DeVos’s tenure as Education Secretary has been rife with scandal and controversy, as her Education Department pursues further dismantling Obama-era guidelines. In particular, the department has taken aim at transgender students, allegedly removing five complaints from students denied bathroom access in their schools.
And according to a report by Politico, the problem goes much deeper:
“The administration, for example, has sought to protect health care workers who don’t want to treat transgender or LGBT patients seeking to transition and ban transgender individuals from serving in the military.”
DeVos taking a jab at the Special Olympics is evidence to many of the Trump administrations nefarious goals regarding the safety and legitimacy of LGBT persons and marginalized communities across the U.S.
Though DeVos described the proposals as “making hard decisions,” some pointed out how paltry the sum of money in question was in the grand scheme of things.
Betsy DeVos owns a $40 million yacht. She could sell it and fund the Special Olympics and she wouldn’t even be out of yachts.
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) March 28, 2019
Freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the blatant hypocrisy presents in DeVos’s statements that she “loves the Special Olympics [her]self.”
Betsy DeVos “loves” the Special Olympics so much, she wants to cut federal funding for it.
She “loves” students so much, she changed rules to make campus sexual assault victims more vulnerable.
And she “loves” teachers so much she wants to cut student loan forgiveness, too. https://t.co/Jv20rTVIu4
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 28, 2019
And representative Mark Pocan, U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district since 2013, made sure to reveal the depths of DeVos’s recklessness.
In @BetsyDeVosED’s budget, there are major cuts to programs like the Special Olympics. Sec. DeVos didn’t know the number of kids who would be hurt by that cut, so I made sure she now knows that 272,000 kids are seeing their support taken away. pic.twitter.com/6ZiOfDU4Ou
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) March 26, 2019
It’s difficult to spin not knowing how many people a given policy will affect. The two ways to read DeVos’s actions are through either astounding incompetence or willful indifference, and both result in harmful practices for the communities in question.
As for the president’s flip-flop, either he cannot adequately govern his staff, or they cannot create a unified message, which has troubling implications for all Americans, Special Olympics athlete or not.