Despite withering confirmation hearings which continually showed that Education Department secretary nominee Betsy DeVos didn’t know some of the basic facts on American schools, the Republican donor was confirmed today by a slim margin, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote.

Criticism of her confirmation was almost immediate and none was more scathing than Sen. Al Franken.

"One of the most important jobs in our government is the Secretary of Education, who directly oversees the policies that children, teachers, school administrators, and entire communities depend on," said Sen. Franken. "It's not a job for amateurs who don't know the first thing about education. I voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, because she is the most incompetent cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen. Last night, I urged my Republican colleagues to oppose her nomination, because if we cannot set party loyalty aside long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the President's nominees, then I don't know what we are even doing here. Betsy DeVos has demonstrated that she is fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department, and it's a shame that Republicans voted to confirm one of their major donors instead of looking out for our children."

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During her confirmation hearings, it became clear she lacked a basic understanding of the public school system, including the fundamental ways in which students are evaluated. DeVos has been a longtime proponent of charter schools, which are privately run but still receive public fund and aren’t held to the same academic standards and testing as public schools.

It was the first time in history that a vice president has been called upon to cast a tie-breaking vote for a cabinet nomination, according to the New York Times.

Others took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

Rep. Keith Ellison:

Actor Kumail Nanjiani:

Southern Poverty Law Center:

Chris Murphy:

Sen. Chuck Schumer:

Deray McKesson:

Rachel Brosnahan:

Seth Macfarlane:

Mike Drucker (writer, Last Week Tonight):


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Sen. Franken Offers Scathing Criticism of Betsy DeVos Confirmation

By Cassie Carothers  and  Phineas Rueckert