In a demonstration of unity, Democrats joined together on Monday night in opposition to Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s unqualified pick to lead the Department of Education.
At this hour, Democratic senators continue to hold the floor in an effort to derail the nomination of DeVos and urge one more Republican member of the Senate to show some backbone and vote against the billionaire GOP donor.
In some of the most blistering remarks of the evening, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken openly wondered why in the world the Senate would confirm a nominee for the Department of Education who doesn’t have a clue about education.
“We wouldn’t accept a secretary of defense who couldn’t name the branches of the military. We wouldn’t accept a secretary of state who couldn’t find Europe on a map. We wouldn’t accept a treasury secretary who doesn’t understand multiplication,” he said.
During her confirmation hearing last month when Franken was questioning her, DeVos revealed that she didn’t know the difference between growth and proficiency when evaluating students’ test scores.
Franken said if Republicans move forward with approving someone as unqualified as DeVos, then who could they ever vote against?
“If you cannot bring yourself to vote against this nominee, is there anyone … that you could vote against?” he said.
Franken said the Senate should simply tell DeVos, “Thank you for your time. We’ll let you know,” and move on to a candidate that is actually qualified to lead the department.
Earlier in the day, Elizabeth Warren also took to the floor during the 24-hour protest to torch DeVos and the entire process surrounding her nomination. She did not disappoint.
In the blistering speech, Warren said:
At every step along the way, the Republicans have made it clear, no matter her inexperience, no matter her radical views, no matter her potential conflicts of interests, no matter her secrecy, no matter her blowing off basic anti-corruption practices, they will ram this nomination down the throats of the American people sideways.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also urged his GOP colleagues to put politics aside when making their final decisions before Tuesday’s vote.
“Now is the time to put country before party,” he said, daring his fellow Republican senators to vote based on DeVos’ qualifications, not the amount of money she’s given to their campaigns.
Ultimately, the Democrats are making this simple. Betsy DeVos, a woman with no experience in public education, should not be confirmed to lead it. Her hearing before the Senate made that clear, and two Republican senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have already come out in opposition to her nomination.
As of this hour, the Senate stands at a 50-50 split, with Vice President Mike Pence poised to cast a tie-breaking vote in her favor on Tuesday – the first time a cabinet nominee would ever be confirmed in that fashion.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.