On January 7, 2021, a day after the violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol that left six people dead, including two police officers beaten to death by the mob, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos resigned from her position via a letter she sent to President Trump.
“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote.
“Impressionable children are watching all of this,” DeVos continued, referring to Trump’s role in the attempted insurrection, “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. They must know from us that America is greater than what transpired yesterday. To that end, today I resign my position … in support of the oath I took to our Constitution, our people, and our freedoms.”
Until this point, DeVos was one of Trump’s most loyal followers, and one of his few cabinet appointees to make it through his presidential term. In 2017, when Trump called white supremacists “very fine people” while they marched in Charlottesville and killed three people, she wrote a letter calling the events tragic, but avoided singling out the President for criticism. Not so this time.
“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,” DeVos wrote.
In response to news of her resignation, the sentiments of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (one of Biden’s shortlist picks for the Education Secretary job) seem to speak for many. “Good riddance,” was Weingarten’s entire statement on the matter.
With DeVos’s symbolic resignation less than two weeks before Biden will take office, her position will be left empty until his nominee, Miguel Cardona, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which will probably happen in late January.
Photo: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, three days after she submitted her resignation. Credit: vasilis asvestas / Shutterstock.com