US education secretary Betsy DeVos is the second member of Donald Trump’s cabinet to resign after white supremacists stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday (6 January).
Betsy DeVos, who would have been out anyway when Joe Biden takes office on 20 January, blamed Trump’s “rhetoric” for the “mess caused by violent protestors” in her resignation letter.
She was one of the first members of Trump’s cabinet to condemn the violence and joins a growing exodus of administration officials in the final days of the Trump administration.
Five people died after riots broke out at the US Capitol this week, perpetrated by supporters of Trump, in scenes that shocked the world. An enormous mob of extremists and white supremacists successfully breached the Capitol on Wednesday (6 January) as Congress met to officially count the Electoral College votes of the 50 states and Washington DC – a formality that usually goes by without incident.
Members of Congress were evacuated and the certification process suspended while Washington DC police clashed with violent rioters, resulting in a shoot-out in at least one of the Capitol’s two chambers.
In DeVos’ resignation letter, obtained by the New York Times, she said: “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 protesters overrunning the US Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business.
“That behaviour 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.”
In her time as education secretary DeVos repeatedly attacked transgender children, including threatening to withdraw funding from schools unless they banned trans kids from playing sport, promoting a school that sacks gay teachers and expels trans children, and rolling back discrimination protections for trans kids.
The American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) put out a two-word statement on DeVos’ resignation: “Good riddance.”