Betsy DeVos Gets Torched for Defending Special Olympics Budget Cut: ‘Can We Just Call Her Cruella DeVos?’


While testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, & Human Services Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced some intense questioning over her department’s budget. Namely, committee members were outraged that the budget proposal eliminated the entire $17.6 million Federal outlay to Special Olympics Education programs.

“We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget,” DeVos said (via Politico).

Democrats were furious.

“I … can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, in a contentious exchange.

Clips of DeVos’s testimony spread across social media, and drew swift condemnation. But on Wednesday, Devos claimed the story has been misrepresented.

“It is unacceptable, shameful and counterproductive that the media and some members of Congress have spun up falsehoods and fully misrepresented the facts,” DeVos wrote.

DeVos then proceeded to confirm the media reporting she claims has been misrepresented.

“The Special Olympics is not a federal program. It’s a private organization. I love its work, and I have personally supported its mission. Because of its important work, it is able to raise more than $100 million every year. There are dozens of worthy nonprofits that support students and adults with disabilities that don’t get a dime of federal grant money. But given our current budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations.”

The criticism is coming from both sides of the aisle. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), for one, said the Special Olympics budget allocation won’t be touched.

“I’m a longtime supporter of Special Olympics and proud that Missouri is home to the largest Special Olympics training facility in the world,” Blunt said (via Roll Call). “I was just at the World Games and saw, as I have many times before, what a huge impact the organization has on athletes, their families, and their communities. Our Department of Education appropriations bill will not cut funding for the program.”

Here’s just a sampling of the rest of the reaction on Twitter:

[featured photo via Getty Images]

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo