DeVos Resigns As Education Secretary, Calls Capitol Riots the ‘Inflection Point’

Education Secretary Betsy Devos in August. KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to President Trump on Thursday announcing her resignation. She is the latest administration official to quit in protest of Wednesday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

For four years, DeVos has been one of Trump’s steadiest allies in a Cabinet with revolving doors, but in a letter to the president, DeVos said she was tendering her resignation, effective Friday, because she had seen enough this week:

“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people. Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business.”

She called the riots “unconscionable,” and contrary to the president’s efforts to downplay his role in fomenting the unrest, DeVos said she believed “there is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

“Impressionable children are watching all of this,” she wrote of Trump’s role in Wednesday’s events, “and they are learning from us. I believe we each have a moral obligation to exercise good judgment and model the behavior we hope they would emulate.”

In 2017, after Trump refused to condemn violence by white supremacists on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, which led to the deaths of three people, DeVos called the attacks “tragic” in a letter to Education Department staff.

“The views of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other racist bigots are totally abhorrent to the American ideal,” she wrote in that 2017 letter. “We all have a role to play in rejecting views that pit one group of people against another. Such views are cowardly, hateful and just plain wrong.” But DeVos did not single out the president for criticism, as she does in Thursday’s letter of resignation.

DeVos said the job had been “the honor of a lifetime” and used the first half of her resignation letter to celebrate what she considered her greatest accomplishments under Trump, including restoring year-round Pell Grants for low-income students.

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SOURCE: NPR, Cory Turner