DeVos Resigns, Citing Capitol Hill Violence as a Breaking Point

By Owen Daugherty and Hugh Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporters

Updated 1/8 at 11:00 a.m. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submitted her letter of resignation to President Donald Trump Thursday night, less than two weeks before the start of the Biden-Harris administration.

The resignation takes effect Friday and was prompted by the chaotic aftermath of violence that erupted on Capitol Hill earlier this week. Deputy Secretary Mick Zais will serve as acting secretary in the interim.

“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” DeVos said in her resignation letter. She is the second Cabinet secretary to resign since Wednesday, following Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The resignations also come as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have urged Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

DeVos has served in her role since the beginning of the Trump Administration and has been one of the president's longest serving cabinet officials — as well as one of the most controversial. In her resignation letter, DeVos made a point to emphasize changes brought about during her tenure, including restoring year-round Pell Grants and overhauling the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA).

In recent weeks, DeVos has also encouraged both Department of Education staff and congressional leaders to resist the Biden administration’s education agenda, and pursue policy positions she made priorities over the last four years, such as expanding school choice, rolling back regulations from the previous administration, and pushing back on proposals to make college tuition-free. 

News of DeVos’s resignation was met with resounding criticism among Democratic lawmakers. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) labeled DeVos “the worst Secretary of Education ever.”  Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member on the Senate education committee, said if DeVos “really wanted to stand up to the President, she would have stayed and called for invoking the 25th Amendment.”

Her resignation comes as Trump released a new statement condemning the violence that bore through the Capitol, causing members to evacuate the chambers. Congressional Democrats are now mulling an effort to impeach the president before his term ends in roughly two weeks’ time. No Republican has joined the impeachment effort as of yet. 

This is a very fluid situation. Stay tuned to Today’s News for more details.

 

Publication Date: 1/7/2021


James C | 1/8/2021 8:56:13 AM

She didn't want to be part of the 25th amendment discussions. Good riddance to them all.

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