President Donald Trump on Friday compared this week’s debacle over federal funding for the Special Olympics to the confusion that followed Trump’s reversal of sanctions linked to North Korea last week.
“In a certain way, it’s like the Special Olympics, ” Trump said, according to Talking Points Memo. Trump was referencing the new sanctions against North Korea, which he canceled last week.
“For many years, it hasn’t been approved, and then at some point it gets negotiated out in Congress, ” the president continued. “Well, I went out, and I said we’re going to have funding for the Special Olympics. So that is why I approved that.”
In a confusing move last week, Trump announced he was canceling new sanctions made against two Chinese shipping companies that the Treasury Department claimed helped North Korea sidestep sanctions targeting its nuclear weapons program. The Treasury Department announced the penalties one day earlier.
Trump made a similar move again on Thursday, this time after statements by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. One day after DeVos was ferociously criticized for defending the Trump administration’s proposal to cut federal funding for the Special Olympics, Trump said he was trying to protect the organization.
Undermining DeVos’ defense of the budget cut, Trump claimed he had “overridden[ his] people” in order to protect funding for the Special Olympics.
On Friday, Trump said his exchange with the Treasury Department and DeVos were “similar.”
“So it is a little bit of a similar situation with different parties, to put it mildly, ” Trump said, according to ABC News.
Although DeVos further defended the proposed Special Olympic cuts after the plan ran viral earlier this week, the education secretary adjusted her tone on the organization’s funding after Trump spoke out against it.
“I am pleased and grateful the president and I watch eye to eye on this issue, and that he has decided to fund our Special Olympics grant, ” she said in a statement, one day after saying in another statement that the Special Olympics already received “robust” private support and thus didn’t need federal funds.
“This is funding I have fought for behind the scenes the last several years, ” she added Thursday.