Politics

Trump’s education secretary DeVos resigns, follows transportation leader Chao

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attends a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump on June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(CNN) — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has submitted her resignation, saying President Donald Trump’s role in spurring the mob that breached the US Capitol on Wednesday was “the inflection point,” making her the second Cabinet member to resign over the incident.

In her resignation letter to Trump dated Thursday, which CNN obtained a copy of, she calls the rioters’ behavior “unconscionable” and wrote, “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao also resigned after taking “time to absorb” the insurrection on Capitol Hill and the President’s response to it. “Today, there was a lot of soul-searching and discussion,” a senior administration official said. “It was obviously the right thing to do.”

Resignations had started Wednesday with first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, the White House social secretary, a deputy press secretary and Trump’s deputy national security adviser all exiting before the night’s end. Other officials, sources told CNN, had been considering resigning.

The resignations came after Trump supporters — spurred by the President — had breached the Capitol earlier Wednesday and engulfed the nation’s capital in chaos.

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After hundreds of pro-Trump rioters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, demonstrators eventually made their way into the building and the House floor was evacuated by police.

Only after pleading from aides and congressional allies inside the besieged Capitol did Trump release a video urging the rioters to “go home,” while still fanning their baseless grievances about a stolen election.

DeVos had said in a statement released Wednesday evening: “The eyes of America’s children and students — the rising generation who will inherit the republic we leave them — are watching what is unfolding in Washington today. We must set a better example for them, and we must teach them the solemn obligations and duties that come with the title ‘American.'”

A peaceful transfer of power, she said, “is what separates American representative democracy from banana republics.”

A top Republican donor and school choice activist, DeVos was tapped to head the Department of Education in 2016. The President hailed her in a statement at the time as “a brilliant and passionate education advocate.”

“Under her leadership we will reform the US 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.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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