In February of 2017, President Donald Trump announced the planned removal of a federal policy dealing with school bathrooms. The policy, which allowed students who identified as transgender to use the bathroom that corresponded with their gender identity, was controversial.
Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, publicly supported the removal of this policy, however, it is being reported that she opposed Trump’s actions internally. An aide within the Department of Education informed a representative of the gay and trans community that Ms. DeVos was opposing the removal of the policy and she warned several members of her staff about the impending policy change several hours before it was announced.
Despite this reported resistance, DeVos supported Donald Trump’s decision in a speech delivered to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. In the speech, she praised the decision by the president, saying that the bathroom policy was an example of Obama’s overreach.
It is unusual, especially for people who have followed Ms. DeVos’s career, to see the Secretary of Education be easily swayed to change her opinion. In her home state of Michigan, DeVos was known as a determined and perseverant politician who did not waffle on issues. Many supporters of DeVos feel that she is often underestimated, and this gives her more political power.
DeVos, who graduated from Calvin College in Michigan, was a businesswoman before entering politics. In 1982, she became a member of the Michigan Republican Party. She served an impressive 16 term stint as a precinct delegate. She has a history of opposing Michigan’s former Governor, Jennifer Granholm.
DeVos is also a relentless political fundraiser, singlehandedly obtaining more than $150,000 in 2004 to help fund the reelection campaign of George W. Bush. Her family has raised more than $17 million for various political campaigns and candidates since 1989.
DeVos is also an active philanthropist. As supporters of education and the arts, DeVos and her husband actively raise and contribute millions of dollars to different educational programs. DeVos continues to support education as the Secretary of Education, and is in favor of such policies as school choice and supporting charter schools.
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