Democrats are all up in arms over any and all of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees. During Senate confirmation hearings, Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, she told the committee that she believed states should have the right to decided if they wanted to allow teachers and faculty to be armed on school campuses.
Projecting optimism and competence while downplaying past ideological affiliations, Betsy DeVos argued before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday that she will be a capable and fair custodian of the nation’s schools as the federal education secretary. Calling herself a “crusader for parents and students,” DeVos returned frequently in her remarks to school choice, an issue she has championed in her native Michigan. She also sought to reassure the committee’s Democratic members, with limited success, that neither her Christian faith nor her family’s vast wealth would factor into the decisions she’ll be expected to make on behalf of millions of children.
Liberals have been acutely suspicious of DeVos. They view her and her husband, Amway heir Dick DeVos, as right-wing activists masquerading as education reformers and philanthropists. Indeed, members of the DeVos family have donated to conservative causes, including anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and have profited in investments in educational companies. She has also been portrayed as both a profiteer and religious zealot, with Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association, for example, calling her “dangerously unqualified.” That sentiment has been echoed by many of the nation’s largest teachers unions.
DeVos was introduced to the committee by Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, a centrist Democrat who has frequently bucked his party. His presence was clearly meant to convey hopes of a bipartisan consensus that is generally the stuff of myth. “Betsy is ready to take on this assignment,” Lieberman said, “and do it very well.”