President Trump’s budget zeroes out federal funding for the Special Olympics. It’s an extremely puzzling move. The White House budget is a symbolic statement of administration priorities that stands no chance of enactment in Congress. (It didn’t even stand a chance of enactment when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.) Why attack something extremely popular for a minuscule contribution toward the unimportant goal of pretending to balance the budget in the long-distant future?
After a brief uproar in which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos lambasted the media for accurately reporting on the proposal, Trump today announced to reporters, “I have overridden my people, we’re funding the Special Olympics.” It’s not really clear what it means to override a proposal that isn’t going anywhere. It does seem clear that sending a member of your cabinet out to defend a cartoon-villain idea and then denouncing it is something less than a masterstroke.
DeVos dutifully announced that she was secretly against the plan to defund it all along:
“I was secretly against this all along despite my public statements” is a line we’re probably going to be hearing a lot from members of the Trump administration in the future.