On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as secretary of education after a lengthy Democratic filibuster, a 50-50 Senate vote, and Mike Pence’s historic tiebreaking vote. Senator Al Franken, who participated in the filibuster, is absolutely disgusted that only two Republicans crossed party lines to vote against DeVos after she may have plagiarized quotes for her Senate questionnaire — a process that was prompted by worries that she didn’t properly grasp the key duties of the cabinet position.
DeVos’ ascension easily qualifies her as one of the most controversial additions to the Trump cabinet, and Franken is irate that his fellow Senators didn’t stand up against her lack of qualifications. He penned a fiery statement, which calls out Republicans for confirming someone who has donated vast sums to many of their campaigns. Franken really lets loose:
“It’s not a job for amateurs who don’t know the first thing about education. I voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, because she is the most incompetent cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen. Last night, I urged my Republican colleagues to oppose her nomination, because if we cannot set party loyalty aside long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the President’s nominees, then I don’t know what we are even doing here. Betsy DeVos has demonstrated that she is fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department, and it’s a shame that Republicans voted to confirm one of their major donors instead of looking out for our children.”
As the Washington Post points out, DeVos and other members of her family (all Amway heirs) have donated over $800,000 to current Republican senators. Over the decades, the family’s donations have totaled over $20 million, which was brought up by Bernie Sanders during DeVos’ confirmation hearing. Alas, neither that nor her strange statement about bears attacking schools was enough to keep DeVos out of Trump’s cabinet.
Franken’s totally going there with accusations that these senators allowed an unqualified person to essentially purchase a cabinet spot. For reference’s sake, here’s a handy listing of what the DeVos family has donated to currently sitting senators.