Within hours before President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era policy that permitted transgender students the ability to use a school bathroom that matched their person gender identities, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with a representative of gay and transgender employees in her department. She wanted to warn her employees what was coming down the pike from the President.
DeVos had resisted Trump’s desire to rescind this policy. Despite taking a stand against the move internally, she presented no public sign that she did not share the President’s view on the matter. In the end, when Trump made the decision, she supported it. Despite her private concerns about rescinding the Obama policy, she even spoke publicly in favor of it once the President himself made his announcement.
DeVos appears almost demure in public. Nonetheless, in reality, she has earned a solid reputation as being a highly driven, relentless, and effective political trench fighter. She has proven herself more than willing to utilize her family’s vast financial resources to reward her allies and punish her foes. She is a tenacious behind the scenes strategist. In the final analysis, people underestimate DeVos at their own peril.
Her father, Edgar Prince, founded a billion dollar company. Her brother, Eric, established Blackwater, the company that provides personnel in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. She ended up marrying into an even wealthier family. Her husband, Dick, is the son of the man who founded AmWay. He unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Michigan.
DeVos has long been a crusader of charter schools and restructuring the manner in which public education money is spent. Largely because of her tireless efforts, Detroit has the largest concentration of charter schools in the United States. Learn more: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20170127/letter-in-support-of-betsy-devos-for-secretary-of-education
DeVos barely won her Senate confirmation to the position of U.S. Secretary of Education. Not all GOP Senators were onboard with her nomination, resulting in a 50-50 tie. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie and the nomination was approved.
One of her first moves once in office was to reach out to the heads of the two major teachers unions. Only one of the two returned her call. DeVos and that union leader made plans to visit public schools together, a move which both the union head and the Education Secretary believe will be a helpful starting point in ongoing dialogue between them. A long-time colleague of DeVos noted that she understands how to play power politics, a fact which people in Washington will soon realize.