Betsy DeVos has been arguably the most maligned member of the Trump administration outside of Trump himself. And given how polarizing the administration has been, that is saying a lot. Even before she took office, she was a lightning rod for controversy, and it showed in her confirmation hearings. Even so, DeVos appears to have at least some kind of stability within the administration. After all, one of the biggest reasons she’s been the “most maligned” is because she is still there, and she has avoided the purges and turnover that has plagued the administration.
However recent events have some people asking: Just how strong is the relationship between Trump and DeVos?
Recently DeVos made headlines when she proposed $18 million in cuts to the Special Olympics. That proposal did not go over well. In addition to being morally wrong, it’s also just bad politics as the Special Olympics are universally well regarded on both sides of the aisle. Such a proposal has virtually no shot of making it through Congress. Predictably the backlash was swift and loud. Which prompted Trump to “save the day” and publicly announce he had “overridden” his people and decided to fund the Special Olympics. A decision which threw Betsy DeVos under the bus even though according to insiders it was actually the White House budget office that pushed for the Special Olympics cuts, not DeVos. By some accounts DeVos was just defending a decision that was already made by the White House and has actually personally supported the Special Olympics with her own money.
Even the person who’s questioning initially started some the outrage, democratic congressman, Mark Pocan noticed Trump’s willingness to leave his Secretary of Education holding the bag:
Under a normal administration, the President not seeing eye to eye with a member of the cabinet would not be a big deal, but this is not a normal administration. This administration has an unusually high turnover rate and it is in large part because the President seems to wear on his cabinet members and vice versa.
In the case of DeVos, many outside observers and insiders have claimed that Trump has never been overly fond of DeVos. When Omarosa Manigault left the White House she claimed that the President referred to DeVos as “Ditzy DeVos” in reference to her political gaffes and poor performance under examinations at hearings. A scorned Omarosa is not exactly the most reliable source due to her unceremonious exit. However, the claims that Trump publicly mocks DeVos to other aides haven’t stopped with the departure with Omarosa.
If there is one thing that we have learned from Trump’s White House, it’s that a lot of things are said and where there is smoke, there isn’t always fire. Moreover, we have also learned that sometimes there is fire where there isn’t even smoke. Given these lessons, observers should probably keep an eye on the interactions between DeVos and Trump for the next couple of months.