Betsy DeVos Resigns as Pressure Builds on Cabinet to Remove Trump

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos resigned Thursday evening, citing President Donald Trump's "rhetoric" ahead of the Wednesday riot at the U.S. Capitol as an "inflection point." She is the latest member to resign, amid increasing pressure from both Republicans and Democrats for Trump to be removed from office.

DeVos is the latest member of Trump's administration to resign after Trump supporters breached the Capitol building in an attempt to prevent the Congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden. Many lawmakers have blamed Trump for the riots, alleging that his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud were a factor in his election loss. Some have asked Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which would allow Pence to remove Trump from office until Biden is inaugurated.

"We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration's many accomplishments on behalf of the American people," DeVos wrote in her resignation letter, a copy of which was sent to Newsweek by the U.S. Department of Education. "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. There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me."

"Impressionable children are watching all this," DeVos added, "and they are learning from us."

President-elect Joe Biden had been a harsh critic of DeVos, telling a National Education Association forum in June 2019 that his first act if elected would be to "make sure that the Secretary of Education is not Betsy DeVos, it is a teacher."

Betsy DeVos resigns
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has resigned from her position Thursday night. The Associated Press reports that President Donald Trump's "rhetoric" was the "inflection point" that made her leave the administration. Andrew Harnik/Getty

Along with DeVos, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Northern Ireland special envoy and former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House social secretary Rickie Niceta and others in Trump's administration have tendered their resignation since the riot.

In a Thursday interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Donald Trump's niece Mary Trump said that the recent spate of resignations was "not out of protest, but so they don't have to be involved in any 25th Amendment issues."

In order for the 25th Amendment to be enacted, Pence or a majority of Donald Trump's Cabinet members would have to state in writing that Donald Trump was unfit for office. Donald Trump could deny that claim, which would force Congress to vote on who would serve in the nation's highest office. In order for Pence to remove Donald Trump from office, two-thirds of Congress would have to agree that Donald Trump should be replaced.

Pence has not stated publicly that he would invoke the 25th Amendment against Donald Trump. However, some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have said that if Pence does not remove Donald Trump via the 25th Amendment, impeachment proceedings should be brought against Donald Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that invoking the 25th Amendment could be the "quickest and most effective way" to remove Donald Trump from office. "If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up," Schumer added, "Congress must reconvene to impeach President Trump."

Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger implied in a video posted to social media on Thursday that Donald Trump had become "unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his health, but from reality itself."

"It's time to invoke the 25th Amendment and to end this nightmare," Kinzinger added.