Betsy DeVos Gives Veiled Trump Criticism, Says GOP Movement Not Dependent on 'Any One Person'

Former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos offered veiled criticism of former President Donald Trump on Saturday, saying she worries that "principles have been overtaken by personalities" in the Republican Party during a GOP conference in Michigan.

She said the GOP movement is not "dependent on any one person," although she did not name the former president, while speaking in an address on Mackinac Island, the Detroit Free Press reported.

"Politics now are so often about people, not the policies that impact lives directly," she said, according to the newspaper.

DeVos served in her role throughout most of the Trump administration before resigning January 7 following the riot at the U.S. Capitol. She cited the former presidents' rhetoric as an "inflection point," though some accused her of resigning to avoid calls to push for Trump's removal using the 25th amendment.

"We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration's many accomplishments on behalf of the American people," DeVos wrote in her resignation letter. "Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protestors overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people's business. That behavior was unconscionable for our country."

She added: "There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me."

During her time in office, DeVos was criticized by Democrats, public school advocates and unions over her advocacy of charter schools and policies surrounding discrimination.

DeVos and her family have been longtime Republican donors, contributing tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates. She served as the chair of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000, and from 2003 to 2004.

Her remarks come as a new poll indicates that Trump's once ironclad grip on the Republican Party may be slipping.

Although he remains overall popular among GOP voters, only 30 percent said they want him to run unopposed in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, according to one new poll.

The poll found that 39 percent of Republicans prefer that he competes with other candidates in the primary, while 22 percents said they'd rather him not run again at all.

Forty percent said they would definitely vote for Trump in a Republican primary, while only 16 percent said they would definitely vote for another candidate.

Trump has indicated that he is interested in running for president again in what could be a rematch between him and President Joe Biden. Ex-advisor Jason Miller said earlier in September it is "pretty clear" he will run again.

An Emerson College poll found Trump leading the popular vote earlier in September, although an Echelon Insights poll released later in September shows Biden leading.

Newsweek reached out to the DeVos Family Foundation for comment Saturday evening but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos said she fears “principles have been overtaken by personalities” in the Republican Party Saturday. Here, she is seen testifying for a Senate committee in March 2019. Zach Gibson/Getty Images