Trump taps Ha­ley for U.N. post, DeVos for ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES - By Julie Bykowicz and Steve Peo­ples

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump has cho­sen South Carolina Gov. Nikki Ha­ley to serve as U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions and prom­i­nent char­ter school ad­vo­cate Betsy DeVos as his sec­re­tary of ed­u­ca­tion, the first women se­lected for toplevel administration posts in his new administration.

Both Cabi­net-level po­si­tions re­quire Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

While some cheered Ha­ley’s se­lec­tion, de­spite her lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence on the in­ter­na­tional stage, the DeVos choice faced crit­i­cism even be­fore it was for­mally an­nounced Wed­nes­day. Con­ser­va­tives warned that DeVos, a long­time Repub­li­can donor, pre­vi­ously sup­ported the Com­mon Core ed­u­ca­tion stan­dards that Trump railed against dur­ing the cam­paign.

Trump, who was at his Palm Beach es­tate Wed­nes­day for the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, called DeVos “a bril­liant and pas­sion­ate ed­u­ca­tion ad­vo­cate.”

Ha­ley, the daugh­ter of In­dian im­mi­grants, is the only mi­nor­ity mem­ber cho­sen by Trump so far. Re­tired neu­ro­sur­geon and Trump loy­al­ist, Ben Car­son, an African-Amer­i­can, has been of­fered the job of sec­re­tary of the De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the of­fer who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the per­son was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the de­lib­er­a­tions pub­licly.

Car­son has not yet ac­cepted the of­fer, but he tweeted on Wed­nes­day that “an an­nounce­ment is forth­com­ing about my role in help­ing to make Amer­ica great again.”

Trump said that Ha­ley, his UN choice, “has a proven track record of bringing peo­ple to­gether re­gard­less of back­ground or party af­fil­i­a­tion to move crit­i­cal poli­cies for­ward for the bet­ter­ment of her state and our coun­try.”

“She is also a proven deal­maker, and we look to be mak­ing plenty of deals,” he said in a state­ment. “She will be a great leader rep­re­sent­ing us on the world stage.”

DeVos, from Michi­gan, is a long­time ad­vo­cate for char­ter schools and school vouch­ers. She cur­rently leads the ad­vo­cacy group, Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion for Chil­dren, and sits on the board of the Jeb Bush-led Foun­da­tion for Ex­cel­lence in Ed­u­ca­tion.

“Un­der her lead­er­ship we will re­form the U.S. 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,” Trump said.

DeVos said in her own state­ment, “The sta­tus quo in ed­u­ca­tion is not ac­cept­able.”

The DeVos fam­ily has been ac­tive in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics for decades, es­pe­cially as donors to GOP can­di­dates and the Repub­li­can Party. DeVos’ hus­band, Dick, is an heir to the Amway for­tune and a for­mer pres­i­dent of the com­pany.

The cou­ple gave $22.5 mil­lion to the Kennedy Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts in Wash­ing­ton in 2010, at the time the largest pri­vate do­na­tion in the cen­ter’s his­tory.

Hours be­fore the DeVos pick was an­nounced, con­ser­va­tive pol­icy leader Frank Can­non, pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project, called her “an es­tab­lish­ment, pro-Com­mon Core sec­re­tary of ed­u­ca­tion.”

“This would not qual­ify as ‘drain­ing the swamp,’” Can­non said, ref­er­enc­ing Trump’s cam­paign trail slo­gan. “And it seems to fly in the face of what Trump has stated on ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy up to this point.”

Asked about DeVos’ sup­port for the Com­mon Core stan­dards, Trump spokesman Ja­son Miller noted that “the pres­i­dent-elect has been con­sis­tent and very clear in his op­po­si­tion to Com­mon Core.”

“Any­body join­ing the administration is sign­ing on to the pres­i­dent-elect’s plat­form and vi­sion for mov­ing Amer­ica for­ward,” Miller said.

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