US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos attends the “Safely Returning American Children to School” event in the States Room of the White House in Washington, DC on August 12, 2020.
NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned Thursday night, accusing President Donald Trump of the rhetoric that fueled the “unacceptable” invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a crowd of his supporters.
DeVos is the second member of Trump’s cabinet to resign due to Wednesday’s riot, which flooded the halls of Congress, delaying confirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Earlier Thursday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she would step down. A number of other Trump administration officials have also resigned since Wednesday due to the riot.
In a letter to Trump, which announced that she would be stepping down on Friday, DeVos listed what she said were the successes she and Trump had had in education politics.
“We should recognize and celebrate the many accomplishments of your administration on behalf of the American people,” DeVos wrote.
“Instead, we have yet to clean up the mess caused by the violent protesters who invade the US Capitol in an attempt to undermine the affairs of the people,” she wrote.
“This behavior was unacceptable to our country,” DeVos wrote. “There is no doubt as to the impact of your rhetoric on the situation, and it is an inflection point for me.”
Trump spoke to a crowd of supporters outside the White House on Wednesday. During remarks lasting over an hour, the president recycled false claims that he won the election and repeated allegations, which are not supported by evidence, that Biden was declared the winner at the as a result of electoral fraud.
Trump also said, “We’re going to have to fight a lot harder,” and urged supporters to march to Capitol Hill, where Congress has started the counting process.
The crowd quickly transformed into a mob that climbed wildly through the halls of Congress, scaring lawmakers and staff members who sought refuge where they could. Four people died amid the chaos.
DeVos noted that “impressionable kids watch it all, and they learn from us.”
“I believe that each of us has a moral obligation to do a good deed [judgment] and model the behavior that we hope they would emulate, ”DeVos wrote.
“They must know from us that America is greater than what happened yesterday.”
She said she was resigning “to uphold the oath I took to our Constitution, our people and our freedoms.”
In his own resignation announcement, Chao said: “Yesterday our country experienced a traumatic and highly preventable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally at which he addressed. “
“As I’m sure many of you have, this deeply troubled me in a way that I just can’t put aside,” Chao said.
Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Who refused to endorse Trump’s efforts to have Congress block Biden’s confirmation as the winner of the Electoral College presidential vote. .
Other officials who resigned in the wake of the riot include Tyler Goodspeed, acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger, and Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney, who was once his chief of staff.