The Many Faces of Betsy Devos

2017 has been a volatile political year, to say the least, as the public has made the adjustment to a new President with no political background, (besides running for office) who also has a habit of filling governmental offices with leaders who often lack hands-on experience in the departments they are assigned to lead.


Case in point is President Trump’s appointment of the billionaire conservative political activist Betsy Devos to the position of Education Secretary. Though Devos has had a background in championing the use of vouchers so that students can attend religiously-run charter schools, she has little experience in running public schools. By the same token, her action regarding charter schools has drawn criticism from some political watchers. Ultimately, Devos’ actions in support of vouchers are seen by many as a way for her to move government money over to church activities, which is in violation of the constitutional ideal of the separation of church and state.



The Public and Private Face of Betsy Devos on Transgender Issues


Devos has been weathering many public relations storms since her appointment, and one area where she’s been involved in a controversy is on the issue of transgender students use of bathrooms that match their current gender identification. The Obama administration passed a policy in support of transgender students being able to use restrooms matching their current gender, but the Trump administration has now moved to rescind the ruling. In public, Betsy Devos seemed to support the actions of the Trump administration. Her attitude showed her to be following along with Trump, as she deemed the Obama administration’s move an example of “overreach” by the government. Insiders who know Devos, however, have reported that in private, she met with the representative of a group of transgender and gay employees who work in the education department, with the goal of warning them in advance of the ruling, so they could have time to prepare.


All of this speaks to what some people feel is an inconsistency in Ms. Devos views. While Ms. Devos publicly has a warm and graceful persona (which could be construed as “meek”) the fact is that those who have known her from her political actions back in Michigan say in reality she is tough political operator who is not above using her family fortune to influence political outcomes and take down those who cross her.


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