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Betsy DeVos’ Husband Says She’d Build on Advocacy Work as Education Secretary

By Andrew Ujifusa — November 30, 2016 1 min read
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The husband of Betsy DeVos, the nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education under President-elect Donald Trump, said in a radio interview Wednesday that she would have a chance as education secretary to improve “an area where we are not doing our very best,”

Dick DeVos Jr. also said his wife had never met Trump personally before meeting with him after the election.

Betsy DeVos has not granted any interviews since she became Trump’s nominee for education secretary Nov. 23. But in a discussion with Michigan’s Big Show host Michael Patrick Shiels, her husband said the possibility of his wife becoming education secretary wasn’t something he or his wife (a long-time school choice advocated who until her nomination chaired the American Federation for Children) could have easily predicted.

“It happened rather quickly, actually. Interestingly enough, she never submitted her own name. And apparently, others suggested she may be a good fit,” DeVos Jr. told Shiels. “So conversations ensued.”

Noting that she must still be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dick DeVos also said leading the department would allow her to continue her work in education advocacy. She and her husband are also long-time major donors to Republican Party candidates and conservative causes.

“If she had this opportunity, it would really be a continuation of 20-plus years of work that she’s done fighting for kids and fighting for them to have better and better opportunities for a better education,” he said in the interview.

That perspective on the job, he added, made it an “easy conversation” for them to have about ultimately accepting Trump’s offer.

Asked by Shiels if he was at all uncomfortable about Betsy DeVos working for Trump, given the audio of a sexually explicit conversation Trump had with former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush a decade ago, Dick DeVos said he wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

“She said he was a gentleman, very kind, thoughtful, asked very good questions, and she was impressed with the conversation that she’s had with him to date,” he said.

DeVos also said his wife has “resigned from almost everything else that she’s done to date” to make sure that her “decks are clear” so she can focus on becoming education secretary.

Photo: Dick DeVos Jr. and his wife, Betsy, stand on stage at the Michigan Republican Party convention in 2006, when DeVos Jr. ran for governor. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)