Education Secretary Betsy DeVos became the second cabinet member to submit her resignation in a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday night, joining a wave of Trump officials who have opted to jump ship after Trump incited his supporters to descend on the Capitol in what became a violent mob effort to overturn the results of the presidential election.
DeVos said she would step down starting Friday, citing “moral obligation” and a commitment to her constitutional oath, after standing by President Trump since 2017 during some of his arguably most morally bankrupt decisions.
“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 caused by violent protestors overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business,” DeVos wrote. “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,” DeVos added. “I believe we each have a moral obligation to exercise good judgment and model the behavior we hope they would emulate.”
DeVos had previously criticized the mob raiding the Capitol posting a statement to Twitter on Wednesday saying that “the peaceful transfer of power is what separates American representative democracy from banana republics.”
Her effort to differentiate the United States from the “banana republics” of the world rings somewhat hollow after DeVos’ own cabinet role and lavish donations by her family to the Republican Party have arguably launched several of her own relatives into powerful posts in a brand of nepotism that is not well suited to advancing democratic norms.
The Michigan billionaire will likely be remembered for abandoning Trump at the final hour after years spent dismantling Obama-era rules at all levels of education and championing the further privatization of education to the detriment of public schooling.
Last month, DeVos urged her colleagues at the Department of Education to “be the resistance” in the incoming Biden administration.
DeVos’ resignation follows a similar move earlier on Thursday by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.