Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee, was criticized for both her views on guns in schools and her substantial bank account during Senate confirmation hearings this week. Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Chris Murphy lambasted DeVos when grilling her over past “grizzly bears” comment and political donations.
“I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide,” Betsy DeVos responded when Connecticut Senator Murphy pressed her over whether or not she felt guns had any place in or around schools. “I think probably there, [Wyoming] I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.”
President-Elect Donald Trump’s education secretary was referencing an earlier comment made by Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi. During the Senate confirmation hearing, Enzi had noted an elementary school in the town of Wapiti had constructed a fence to protect the children from various forms of deadly wildlife, including grizzly bears.
Many conservative activists have deemed the Senate confirmation hearings nothing more than political theater because Democrats do not have the votes to stop a single one of Donald Trump’s nominees unless they can entice Republican Senators to vote with them.
— CNN (@CNN) January 18, 2017
Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat, became a vocal gun control activist after the Sandy Hook school shooting. He appeared quite displeased when Betsy DeVos refused to rule out allowing guns in schools if she is confirmed as the Department of Education Secretary.
During the hearing Betsy DeVos was also quizzed about her stance on Donald Trump’s vow to ban gun-free school zones after taking office by Senator Murphy, NBC News notes.
“I will support what the president-elect does. But senator, if the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that I, I — my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence,” Betsy DeVos added during her Senate confirmation hearing.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, legislation has already been introduced by Republican lawmakers to ban gun free zones in schools. Because the GOP holds a majority in both the House and the Senate, Democrats would not be able to thwart the bill heralded by Second Amendment advocates unless, once again, they can flip some Republican votes.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 18, 2017
The Safe Students Act was sponsored by Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie. The Safe Students Act is also known as H.R. 34.
“Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” Representative Massie said. “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”
Democrats in the Senate also voiced concern and displeasure over DeVos’ support of school choice and school vouchers. Critics of school choice programs, typically unions which represent teachers and Democratic lawmakers, claim vouchers decrease diversity and yank taxpayer funds from already struggling public schools. Advocates of school voucher programs largely believe they spark academic excellence and force schools to work harder as they compete for students.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 18, 2017
Senator Bernie Sanders was among the Democrats who claimed Betsy DeVos might not have the necessary background and experience to become the education secretary for Donald Trump. The billionaire philanthropist stated her family had made about $200 million in donations to the Republican Party over the years during her questioning by Bernie Sanders, the Daily Mail reports.
When asked by Senator Sanders if she thought she would be the education secretary nominee if she and her family had not been major GOP donors, Betsy DeVos did not hesitate in her reply.
“As a matter of fact I do think that there would be that possibility,” DeVos responded. “I have worked very hard on behalf of parents and children for the last almost 30 years.”
Bernie Sanders also asked DeVos where she stood on the issue of free college at public institutions of higher learning.
“I think we also have to consider the fact that there is nothing in life that is truly free. Somebody is going to pay for it,” Donald Trump’s education secretary nominee said.
What do you think about guns in schools and tuition-free college?
[Featured Image by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]