UPDATE: On February 7th, the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed DeVos appointment by Trump with thanks to a rare tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
“Ah, Betsy… education, right?” Trump doesn’t seem to know or remember that he appointed Betsy DeVos — a billionaire heiress and religious zealot — as Secretary of Education.
A video posted by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) captures this remarkable exchange during Trump’s official nomination of the controversial businesswoman and activist who has said that education reform can “advance God’s kingdom.”
DeVos’ father-in-law, Rich, is the founder of multi-billion dollar Amway and her husband, Dick, was CEO of Amway from 1993 to 2002. She’s also a huge contributor to the Republican Party, donating $5 million in political contributions in the last 5 years alone. And across four decades and two generations, the DeVos family has poured more than $200 million into the key institutions of the Christian right and the conservative movement.
Further, DeVos and her family have hand a long history of opposing LGBT equality. “Foundations run by her parents and her husband’s parents have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Focus on the Family, a group that’s promoted damaging gay ‘conversion therapy’ and called homosexuality ‘preventable and treatable,'” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement criticizing DeVos.
“A foundation run by her husband’s brother and sister-in-law donated $500,000 to the antigay National Organization for Marriage, and a foundation run by DeVos and her husband has donated more than $100,000 to the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. DeVos’s late father, Edgar Prince, helped found the Family Research Council; her mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, sits on the boards of the FRC and the Acton Institute, which sponsored a conference held by an antigay hate group.”
Via The Advocate:
From 2001 to 2013, DeVos was listed on tax forms as vice president of the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, which was founded by her mother and has donated to such anti-LGBT groups as the FRC and Focus on the Family, The Washington Post reports. In the hearing, DeVos said the listing was a “clerical error” and that she has never made decisions for her mother. Just last week the foundation filed paperwork with the state of Michigan to have DeVos’s name removed.
DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, also released a statement on the appointment:
She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education. By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.
During her confirmation hearing, DeVos made headlines for saying guns might be needed in some schools “to protect from potential grizzlies,” as one potential scenario.
- NBC News