Republicans like Betsy DeVos and Ted Cruz Are Cowards for Empowering Trump


It’s been two days since a fascist militia stormed the U.S. Capitol at the behest of President Donald Trump, and he is still in office. How is this possible? Easily, it seems: through the same Republican cowardice that put him there.

Amid calls to invoke the 25th Amendment, members of the Cabinet appear to be choosing between resigning and riding out the final stretch of Trump’s term. While some cabinet secretaries have reportedly discussed removing the president through the constitutional process, the New York Times reported vice president Mike Pence opposes the plan.

Only two cabinet-level officials — transportation secretary Elaine Chao and education secretary Betsy DeVos — have resigned. But these resignations are themselves timid expressions of the same cowardice that the GOP has displayed as it embraced a man so consumed by his own delusions that his leadership gets people killed.

In her resignation letter, DeVos celebrated her work privatizing education and the administration’s pressure campaign to reopen schools amid a now worse-than-ever pandemic. Only after championing her own work to make our schools inferior did she uselessly scold the fascist leader who just sicced his movement on democracy.

“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people. Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protestors overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business,” DeVos wrote in a letter, effectively wiping her hands of the situation.

“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” wrote DeVos, a woman who was confirmed by the Senate in the first month of Trump’s term. She then launched into her best Helen Lovejoy impression, writing, “Impressionable children are watching all of this, and they are learning from us.”

DeVos, a billionaire who has dedicated her life to ruining public education, has hit her breaking point only now that her opportunity to attack public schools is coming to an end. This isn’t some moment of moral clarity; it’s last-second butt-covering from a coward with no stomach to meaningfully challenge a man whose power she leveraged to achieve her own ends.

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Chao’s resignation was similarly at odds with itself. She said she was “deeply troubled … in a way I simply cannot set aside” by the “traumatic and entirely avoidable event” that saw Trump’s forces storm the Capitol, but she also said she was “tremendously proud” of the work she’d done in an administration carried to power by those same forces, calling it the “honor of a lifetime.”

The fact that Chao’s husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), was “practically being carried by his security detail” as they fled the Senate, according to the New York Times, may have made this personal for her. But both Chao and McConnell — and the GOP at large — cut this deal with Trump as he rose to power. They rode his populist coattails while doing little, if anything, to reign in his authoritarian streak. They must’ve thought the only real difference between them and Trump was how loudly he was willing to say what a lot of Republicans clearly genuinely believe.

Another notable Republican lawmaker has spent the past four years offering a portrait of cowardice so pathetic that it feels like a mythic fable or an ancient Greek comedy. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gave him a run for his money, but perhaps no one more than Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) embodies the GOP’s willingness to latch on to Trump like leeches to a swamp monster, nourishing their bloodthirstiness with his momentum.





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