President Donald Trump’s cabinet, US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is the wealthiest member of the cabinet. Her husband, Richard DeVos Jr, is an heir to his father’s $5.1 billion fortune, earned from marketing powerhouse Amway, which does just shy of $9 billion in sales every year.
DeVos herself, who has no experience in education or managing a program, or doing any kind of job, was controversial from the beginning. She was only confirmed because Mike Pence broke the Senate tie.
Since then, she’s done nothing but systematically try to re-segregate schools, promoting proven detrimental programs like the school voucher system and charter schools. All this would do is giver wealthier parents who send their children to private schools (like she did with her children) another tax break. Meanwhile, public schools would face less funding than the already despicable little funding they get now.
She is also a champion of rape culture, claiming that she wants to end Title 9 on college campuses because it was unfair to the accused. Thankfully, most schools are ignoring her directive and choosing to continue fighting sexual assault on their campuses.
All of these problems seem to come from her billionaire lifestyle. Her security detail alone costs about $1 million a month, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. In the past, Education Secretaries didn’t need security details.
Yet there is one aspect that DeVos probably thought would make her look good. With numerous reports claiming that cabinet members were using taxpayer money for private flights, DeVos’s team says they will travel on her dime.
“Secretary DeVos travels on personally-owned aircraft, accompanied by her security detail and whenever possible, additional support staff, at zero cost to US taxpayers,” her spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill said in September.
“The secretary neither seeks, nor accepts, any reimbursement for her flights, nor for any additional official travel-related expenses, such as lodging and per diem, even though she is entitled to such reimbursement under government travel regulations.”
She had to make it clear that she could take our money if she wanted to.
It’s also not a single aircraft. According to Forbes, the DeVos family owns a fleet of 12 private jets — 1 Boeing Business Jet, 5 Gulfstream G550’s, 1 Gulfstream G450, 2 Bombardier Challenger 350’s, 3 Cessna Citation CJ4’s — and four helicopters.
Nothing says “I understand low-income area schools” like showing up in this:
Her other jet was in the shop
And DeVos has the gall to make it look like she’s doing us a favor as she destroys the education system.
John B. King Jr., her predecessor, spent a total of $39,000 on commercial flights over his year-long tenure, but he didn’t spend $12 million a year on security.