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DeVos resigned after believing 25th Amendment was off the table

POLITICO logo POLITICO 1/8/2021 By Michael Stratford
a close up of a woman: Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos observes a classroom setting Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. © Matt York/ AP Photo Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos observes a classroom setting Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submitted her resignation on Thursday after she believed that it would not be possible to remove President Donald Trump from office under the 25th Amendment, according to an adviser.

DeVos decided to step down from the Cabinet after learning that Vice President Mike Pence opposed calls to invoke the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office before Jan. 20, the adviser said.

“Once that option was off the table, resignation was the only option,” the DeVos adviser said, saying that “this week was a clear line in the sand” for her.

The background: DeVos became the second Cabinet member to resign following the violent attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced her departure earlier Thursday.

In her resignation letter, DeVos told Trump that “there is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had” on the violent riots at the Capitol.

DeVos released the resignation letter Thursday after several reports that said Pence did not intend to pursue Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment. Pence has not publicly commented nor informed top congressional leaders of his position.


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The DeVos adviser declined to say whether DeVos had spoken with Pence or Trump directly about the situation. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on DeVos' thinking on the issue.

What's next: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on Pence to use the 25th Amendment. Pelosi said Friday that they still hope to “hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people.”

Some Democrats, who have called for Trump’s immediate removal from office, criticized DeVos and Chao for quitting rather than seeking to oust Trump from office under the 25th Amendment.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn accused the two Cabinet members of “running away from their responsibility” by resigning. “If they feel that strongly, they would stay there and wait on this meeting so they can cast two of the votes that are necessary to invoke the 25th Amendment,” Clyburn told CNN.

Parting words: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on Twitter that DeVos was “the worst Secretary of Education ever” and that DeVos would “rather quit than do her job to help invoke the 25th Amendment.”

DeVos responded on Thursday morning: “You know not of what you speak, @SenWarren.”

DeVos sent an email to Education Department employees on Friday morning sharing her Wednesday statement on the violence at the Capitol and a copy of her resignation letter from Thursday evening.

“It has been a privilege to serve America’s students alongside you, and I wish you nothing but the best as you continue to support our rising generation.” She signed the note “Onward!”

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