President Trump announced the federal government’s policy allowing transgender students to use school restrooms that match their gender identities, but hours before the announcement Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in a meeting. She met with the Education Department’s representative of transgender and gay employees to warn them about the news.
During the meeting, an aide reassured the representative that Ms. DeVos had fought the move. This information is from people briefed about the meeting. She gave no indication to the public about the rift within the administration or that she lost her fight against the policy.
Many people who know Ms. DeVos and who have watched her over the years as she advocated for school vouchers and charter schools warn against the assumption she is meek.
Those same people will say she is publicly gracious, even when she suffers a setback, but that is where it ends. Ms. DeVos has earned a solid reputation as a relentless, driven and successful political fighter. She’s used her family’s fortune to work behind the scenes to unseat lawmakers who opposed her, reward allies and punish enemies.
One former Michigan attorney general who worked with her claimed that he found her to be a steely and determined when she sets her mind on obtaining a goal.
Ms. DeVos grew up in Holland, Michigan, which is in the west part of the state. During her career, she worked at her father’s auto parts company. For three decades, she has fought to place more tax dollars to charter schools, which rely on federal money. The schools are operated by private companies that are outside the public school system.
In addition, Ms. DeVos has fought for funding for school vouchers to cover private school tuition of poor students trapped in poorly performing public schools.
Ms. DeVos has decided to take her love for education and desire to help students to the Department of Education. The Senate confirmed her 51-50. Vice President Pence casted the tie-breaking vote. Her time in public office has not been easy. She has been portrayed as ignorant and has been mocked in the media. Unlike the president, Ms. DeVos has rarely considered such negative portrayals worth responding to, in contrast to President Trump.
Many of her supporters have said that people in Washington who oppose Ms. DeVos will find out that their opposition will only embolden her. She knows how to play politics to achieve her goal of protecting education in America.
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