Skip To Content
Fast Forward

WATCH: Al Franken Denounces Betsy DeVos As ‘Fundamentally Incompetent’

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.

Image by YouTube

“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.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.