Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s unpopular education secretary, became the second cabinet member to step down on Thursday citing the attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol.
In a letter to Trump to BuzzFeed News, DeVos said, “There is no doubt about the impact of your rhetoric on the situation, and it’s an inflection point for me.”
“We should recognize and celebrate the many accomplishments of your administration on behalf of the American people. Instead, we need to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters, ”DeVos wrote.
DeVos, a billionaire mega-honorator who had no experience in government or in classrooms before becoming Education Secretary, follows Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who also announced Thursday that she is stepping down due to the “ utterly preventable ” insurgency sparked by Trump’s rhetoric.
But DeVos will likely be remembered for his unusually controversial tenure as head of the Department of Education, a post that usually receives little public attention. She has been the target of the left’s wrath since the day of her Senate confirmation hearing, when she struggled to answer basic political questions.
A relentless advocate for school choice, especially private and religious schools, DeVos was able to make little headway on the issue during her tenure. Instead, she oversaw a department that removed guidelines meant to protect transgender students and overhauled the rules to tackle sexual assault on college campuses.
The ultimate goal of DeVos was to significantly reduce the size and budget of the federal government in the field of education. “It would be nice for me to have worked without a job myself,” DeVos said from the start.
Under his leadership, the Education Department shrank in size and influence, drastically reducing staff in places like its Civil Rights Office and relinquishing some of its power to regulate schools and colleges.
In the 2020 Democratic primary, promises to replace DeVos have often been the most trusted source of applause for Democratic campaigning candidates.
Last fall, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, DeVos stood with Trump to make a strong case for the reopening of schools, an issue she cited in her resignation letter.
“I know for sure that history will show that we were right in our repeated demand and support for the reopening of schools this year,” DeVos wrote to Trump.