A New Jersey state union official said she now regrets her tweet Wednesday stating she hopes U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “dies a horrible, horrible death.”
— David Wildstein (@wildstein) March 27, 2019
Hetty Rosenstein, a Communications Workers of America state director, said she tweeted her hopes for DeVos’s “horrible, horrible death” after she heard the Trump administration was seeking to make cuts to the Special Olympics program.
“Late at night on Tuesday I learned that Betsy De Vos was cutting 100% of federal funding for the Special Olympics,” Rosenstein said, according to the New Jersey Globe. “I don’t know the last time I heard such horrible news or felt such despair. I had just posted that I couldn’t sleep. And so I said something out of that despair that I regret.”
— David Wildstein (@wildstein) March 28, 2019
Cuts to the Special Olympics – a private organization – however, have been recommended by both the Trump and Bush administrations in the past, but have been ignored by Congress. In fact, Congress has even increased funding to the program for children with disabilities.
Cutting federal funding to the special olympics isn't a new idea: the Trump admin proposed it last year, and Bush in his last year in office. (Both requests were ignored by Congress.) This is the first year it's really blown up https://t.co/VWOxvCuUBR
— Michelle Hackman (@MHackman) March 27, 2019
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending, had already said Special Olympics funding would not be cut.
“Our Department of Education appropriations bill will not cut funding for the program,” Blunt said.
Nevertheless, Democrats this week are portraying the Trump administration as dismissive of children with disabilities because of the proposed budget cuts to the Special Olympics organization.
Politico reported comments about DeVos’s defense of the administration’s budget proposal during a congressional hearing “went viral.”
On Tuesday, Democrats pounced on the proposed cut in funding. Rep. Barbara Lee of California referred to the plan as “appalling.”
“I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget,” she said.
“The department’s fiscal 2020 proposal would eliminate federal money for Special Olympics Education programs,” Politico noted. “The department’s last two budget proposals would also have eliminated federal funding, but nothing would be cut unless Congress agreed to do so, and Congress has rejected administration plans. In fact, Congress has increased the funding.”
DeVos released a statement Wednesday targeting the spread of the inaccuracies over the proposed budget cuts to Special Olympics.
“It is unacceptable, shameful and counterproductive that the media and some members of Congress have spun up falsehoods and fully misrepresented the facts,” the secretary said, adding that President Donald Trump’s budget “supports our nation’s 7 million students with disabilities through a $13.2 billion request for IDEA funding, the same funding level appropriated by Congress.”
“All of that money goes directly to states to ensure students with disabilities have the resources and supports they need,” DeVos continued. “The budget also requests an additional $225.6 million for competitively awarded grants to support teacher preparation, research and technical assistance to support students with disabilities.”
“I should not have said it,” Rosenstein said about her tweet hoping for DeVos’s death. “I am a leader and I should have mustered something to help to inspire others to continue to fight for justice and to fight the power and privilege and immorality of the politics of DeVos.”
In 2018 DeVos announced she would donate part of her salary to the Special Olympics.
“The Special Olympics is not a federal program,” the secretary said in her statement Wednesday. “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.”