Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for her confirmation hearing Jan. 17. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
From start to finish, this week’s Senate confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. education secretary, was a remarkable affair — remarkable as in seriously unusual, uncomfortable to watch.
While many confirmation hearings have moments when somebody says or does something that raises eyebrows, the DeVos hearing on Tuesday was something of a spectacle throughout. (It’s no wonder stories about the hearing went viral on social media, something that doesn’t usually happen with education confirmation hearings.)
It wasn’t just that DeVos — who critics say supports policies that would privatize public education — seemed unable to answer basic questions and made some rather startling statements. Among them:
- She responded to a question about guns from a senator representing Connecticut, the site of the 2012 Newtown school shootings, by saying that schools in Wyoming might want to have a gun to protect against “potential grizzlies.” (The school she referred to as probably having a gun actually doesn’t have one.)