US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has resigned, becoming the second cabinet official to step down from the Trump administration over a violent disturbance in the nation’s capital, arguing his “rhetoric” only fanned the flames.
DeVos’ resignation was reported on Thursday evening, with the soon-to-be ex-secretary stating that President Donald Trump’s response to the unrest at the US Capitol this week was an “inflection point” in her decision, which will take effect Friday.
“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people,” Mrs. DeVos wrote in a letter addressed to Trump, first obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “Instead we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the US Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business.”
That behavior was unconscionable for our country. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.
Ahead of her departure, DeVos issued a separate statement soon after the explosion of unrest at the Capitol on Wednesday, denouncing the rioters as an “angry mob” while calling for an end to the “disruptions and violence.” The earlier missive made no mention of Trump, however.
— Secretary Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) January 6, 2021
One of Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members in an administration with break-neck turnover, DeVos’ resignation follows that of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who quit her post earlier on Thursday. Though Chao noted that it had been the “honor of a lifetime” to serve under Trump, she blasted the president for instigating a “traumatic and entirely avoidable event” in Washington, DC, which she said “deeply troubled” her.
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Critics met DeVos’ letter with enthusiasm, with the American Federation of Teachers stating simply: “Good riddance.” Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren met the news similarly, calling DeVos “the worst Secretary of Education ever.”
A short press release from the American Federation of Teachers, commenting on the Betsy DeVos resignation: "Good riddance." pic.twitter.com/Jhra5B81hT
— Brad Mielke (@TheBradMielke) January 8, 2021
Betsy DeVos has never done her job to help America’s students. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that she’d rather quit than do her job to help invoke the 25th Amendment.Good riddance, Betsy. You were the worst Secretary of Education ever. https://t.co/im1IgGQVSp
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 8, 2021
Beyond cabinet-level positions, a number of other Trump officials and staffers have either quit or considered doing so over the last 24 hours, among them Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger and White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews. Others believed to be contemplating whether to jump the president’s sinking ship include National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell. Reuters, meanwhile, reported late Thursday that four others had handed in their resignations: Mark Vandroff, senior director for defense policy; Anthony Rugierro, senior director for weapons of mass destruction; and Rob Greenway, senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs.
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