Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Resigns In Wake Of Capitol Siege, Joining Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao – Update

Betsy DeVos resigns
Elaine Chao, left, and Betsy DeVos

UPDATED, 6:40 PM: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned Thursday, becoming to second member of Donald Trump’s Cabinet to quit in the wake of Wednesday chaos at the U.S. Capitol.

Here is DeVos’ resignation latter to Trump:

“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people. Instead, we are left to clean up the mess cause by violent protestors overrunning the U.S. 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.

“Impressionable children are watching all of this and they are learning from us. I believe we each have a moral obligation to exercise good judgement and model the behavior we hope they would emulate. They must know from us that America is greater than what transpired yesterday.

“To that end, today I resign from my position effective Friday, January 8, in support of the oath I took to our Constitution, our people, and our freedoms. Holding this position has been the honor of a lifetime, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve America and her students.”

DeVos, the billionaire sister of Trump-pardoned former Blackwater chief Erik Prince, was an original member of Trump’s Cabinet. She was confirmed in February 2017 over strong opposition from Democrats. Her exit comes a day after she posted a message on social media that read in part: “The peaceful transfer of power is what separates American representative democracy from banana republics. … An angry mob cannot be allowed to attack our Capitol and impede that process.”


PREVIOUSLY, 10:51 AM: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao became the first Cabinet secretary to resign over concerns of President Donald Trump’s role in the siege at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

“Yesterday our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” Chao said. As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I cannot set aside.”

Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She said that her resignation would be effective on Monday, nine days before Joe Biden’s swearing-in as president.

Chao follows other members of the administration to resign out of concerns over Trump’s role in fomenting the protests and his response afterward. Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, stepped down on Wednesday, and Mick Mulvaney, special envoy to Northern Ireland, resigned on Thursday morning. Mulvaney previously served as Trump’s acting chief of staff.

Capitol Chaos: Deadline’s Full Coverage

Chao’s departure had been rumored on Wednesday evening, as there were rumblings that Trump was facing a wave of resignations over the Capitol siege.

Some Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have been calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, a process for removal of the president.

In her statement, Chao said that they “will help my announced successor Mayor Pete Buttigieg with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department.”

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