Al Franken, the Minnesota comedian-turned-senator, was dead serious in his critique of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as she was confirmed to her post on Tuesday after a tie in the Senate.
“It’s not a job for amateurs who don’t know the first thing about education,” he said in a statement issued after the Senate voted. “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.”
DeVos’ nomination came under fire after she appeared not to understand differences between federal and state authority over education during her confirmation hearing. Her philanthropic work to promote charter schools, education vouchers and religious influences in the classroom also proved controversial.
Vice President Mike Pence had to break the 50-50 split in the Senate, after two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, announced they would vote against her.
Franken fleshed out the case against DeVos in a floor speech on Monday night, blasting her efforts to use schools to push Christianity and her knowledge base. “During her hearing, Mrs. DeVos proved that not only her ideology is incompatible with the mission of the Department of Education, but that she is fundamentally incompetent to be its leader,” he said.
The Minnesota senator has been one of the most vociferous critics of the president Cabinet nominees, attacking Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for attorney general, in a clip that went viral on the Internet.