Trump’s education secretary Betsy DeVos second cabinet member to resign after Capitol Hill riots

A flurry of resignations followed the US Capitol Hill violence, including first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham

Shweta Sharma
Friday 08 January 2021 07:32 GMT
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was booed by students while trying to speak at their commencement
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was booed by students while trying to speak at their commencement (Getty)

Education secretary Betsy DeVos became the second cabinet member to submit her resignation on Thursday, citing the role played by Donald Trump’s election fraud “rhetoric” in inciting violence at the US Capitol that claimed the lives of five people.

In her letter to Mr Trump on Thursday, she said the behaviour of the rioters was “unconscionable” and blamed the president for the rampage at the Capitol for encouraging the mob.

“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me. Impressionable children are watching all of this, and they are learning from us," she wrote. 

Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, also resigned from her position on Thursday.

On 6 January, hundreds of Donald Trump supporters forced their way into the US Capitol as Congress was under session to certify Joe Biden’s victory by counting the electoral college votes.  The rioters, charged up by the baseless allegations of Mr Trump of election fraud, clashed with the law enforcement, vandalised and looted the building.

One of the first cabinet secretaries to denounce the Capitol violence, Ms DeVos was Mr Trump’s loyal supporter who later distanced herself from him following his allegations of voters fraud in the 2020 election.

Ms DeVos, however, praised Mr Trump for his “many accomplishments”, including allowing her agenda to reopen schools during coronavirus pandemic despite opposition from other members.  

“Mr President, I know with certainty that history will show we were correct in our repeated urging of and support for schools reopening this year and getting all of America’s students back to learning,” she wrote.

She said instead of celebrating his administrations accomplishments, the cabinet is left to “clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the US Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business.”

Hours after Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building, first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, and White House’s social secretary, Anna Cristina Niceta, resigned.

Several Democratic lawmakers demanded the removal of Mr Trump from office following the rampage that left five people dead. Lawmakers demanded that vice president Mike Pence invoke the 25th amendment to remove the president from power. Mr Pence has, however, opposed calls to strip the president of his power, sources informed the New York Times.

Nancy Pelosi has warned Mr Pence that if he did not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr Trump before his term ends she would pursue impeachment. 

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in