Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) expressed unreserved outrage over Tuesday's 51-50 Senate confirmation of President Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos: "It's not a job for amateurs who don't know the first thing about education," said Franken in his statement, after Vice President Mike Pence took the Senate floor to cast the tie-breaking vote. "I voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor, because she is the most incompetent Cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen."
Republicans have called DeVos, a school-voucher proponent, the kind of reformer the education system needs. Democrats have criticized Republicans' support for DeVos, pointing to her family's $200 million in donations to conservatives. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) grilled DeVos on that point during her Senate hearing, demanding to know: "Do you think, if you were not a multi-billionaire, if your family had not made hundreds of millions of dollars of contributions to the Republican Party, that you would be sitting here today?"
Franken echoed Sanders' frustration Tuesday. "Last night I urged my Republican colleagues to oppose [DeVos'] nomination, because if we cannot set party loyalty aside long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the president's nominees, then I don't know what we are even doing here," he said in his statement. "Betsy DeVos has demonstrated that she is fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department, and it's a shame that Republicans voted to confirm one of their major donors instead of looking out for our children."