By Bonnie K. Goodman
President- elect Donald Trump is finally adding some women to his cabinet. On Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 23, 2016, Trump nominated “charter school advocate and businesswoman” Betsy DeVos for education secretary. Earlier in the day, Trump named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C. as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Both positions need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Trump met with the “billionaire donor and conservative activist” at his new Jersey Golf Club over the weekend as part of his marathon interviews to fill cabinet and upper-level White House posts. Trump praised DeVos in his statement announcing his decision, saying, “Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate. Under her leadership, we will reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”
DeVos also commented in the Trump Transition’s official statement, “I am honored to accept this responsibility to work with the President-elect on his vision to make American education great again. The status quo in education is not acceptable. Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”
DeVos is facing almost immediate criticism from the nation’s largest teacher’s union, The National Education Association, for supporting school vouchers and charter schools. While Conservative are criticizing her involvement with a group that supports Common Core education standards, which Trump vowed to obliterate. According to CNN “DeVos chairs the American Federation for Children,” which “promotes charter school education,” and she “also served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, ” a pro-Common Core group. DeVos quickly distanced herself, saying in a website post “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position.”
Earlier in the day, Trump picked a less controversial pick for the U.S. ambassador to the UN in choosing Haley; however, Haley has a controversial past with the president-elect. Haley is a second-generation American born to Indian parents and a rising star in the Republican Party. Haley supported Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the primary and was a frequent critic of Trump immigration policies, including building a wall on the Mexican border and the Muslim ban. Haley even criticized Trump in her 2016 State of the Union response calling him one of “angriest voices” that “throw stones.” Now, Trump seems to want to reach out to some of his biggest critics in the Republican Party and consider them for cabinet posts including 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney for Secretary of State.
In the official statement, Haley explained why she chose to accept Trump’s offer. Haley said, “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed. The second is a satisfaction with all that we have achieved in our state in the last six years and the knowledge that we are on a very strong footing.” Haley will remain the South Carolina’s governor until the Senate confirms her. Continuing Haley said, “We still have much to do in South Carolina, and my commitment to the people of our state will always remain unbreakable, both while I continue to hold this office, and thereafter.”