Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos struggled through a wide-ranging sit-down with 60 Minutes on Sunday night, drawing criticism for her failure to answer basic questions about education policy, public schools in her home state of Michigan, and sexual assault on campus.
Journalist Lesley Stahl grilled the controversial education secretary on these issues and at one point urged DeVos to visit underperforming public schools to learn more about their problems. “Maybe I should,” DeVos replied.
Stahl asked DeVos if the public schools in Michigan have gotten better since the longtime school-choice advocate’s push to expand publicly funded vouchers for private and religious schools.
“I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better,” DeVos responded, later adding, “I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them.”
DeVos stumbled again when asked if she was suggesting the number of false accusations of rape and sexual assault on campus were equal to the number of actual rapes and sexual assaults.
“Well, one sexual assault is one too many and one falsely accused individual is one too many,” DeVos said.
“But are they the same?” Stahl pressed.
“I don’t know,” DeVos replied.
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DeVos was roundly criticized for the interview, with some journalists on Twitter calling her “dangerous,” “incompetent” and “a threat to public education.”
As DeVos faced suggestions that she should resign, the education secretary had some advice of her own for boss Donald Trump, who called NBC News anchor Chuck Todd “a sleeping son of a bitch” while campaigning in Pennsylvania Saturday for GOP congressional candidate Rick Saccone.
“I would probably use different language myself,” DeVos told Todd’s NBC colleague Savannah Guthrie during an interview Monday. “I think we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to be examples to our kids.”
“That would include the president as well,” she added.