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Betsy DeVos Resigns, Dodging 25th Amendment Push

Critics say the moral outrage expressed by resigning cabinet members rings hollow after years of enabling Trump.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks to the crowd gathered during the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting on February 27, 2020.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos late Thursday became the second Cabinet member to submit her resignation this week, a move teachers unions and lawmakers denounced as a spineless effort to sidestep widespread and growing calls for Vice President Mike Pence and top administration officials to use the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.

“Resigning 13 days before the end of this administration does nothing to erase the harm Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has done to this country’s students, their families, and educators,” Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association (NEA), said in a statement. “She has failed our students yet again when they needed her most. Her complicity, cowardice, and complete incompetence will be her legacy.”

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest teachers union in the U.S. behind NEA, had just two words for the education secretary as she heads out the door: “Good riddance.”

In a letter (pdf) announcing her resignation, effective Friday, DeVos called Trump’s incitement of the violent right-wing mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol Building earlier this week “the inflection point” and said there is “no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation.”

But watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said late Thursday that expressions of moral outrage ring hollow coming from officials who quietly accepted or enabled Trump’s most dangerous behavior in the years preceding Wednesday’s attempted coup.

“If you stood by Trump after Charlottesville, you’re not resigning now out of disgust,” the group tweeted. “You’re resigning to avoid having to deal with the 25th Amendment.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Thursday that because DeVos “has never done her job to help America’s students,” it is not surprising that she would “rather quit than do her job to help invoke the 25th Amendment.”

“Good riddance, Betsy,” added Warren. “You were the worst secretary of education ever.”