Adversaries of Betsy DeVos are mounting a furious last-minute bid to sink her nomination for Education secretary, with tactics that include a “tie-breaker telethon” in Alaska, a flood of emails to U.S. senators and celebrity appeals to millions of Twitter followers.
Teachers unions, civil rights advocates and a ragtag assemblage of other opponents are bombarding congressional offices with tens of thousands of phone calls and more than 1 million emails — a massive but almost certainly doomed effort to vanquish one of President Donald Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks.
Sen. Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, said on Twitter that the last three days had “been the busiest in Capitol switchboard history” by “almost double.” He urged opponents of DeVos to “keep it up.”
The campaign kicked into high gear this week after two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced their opposition, leaving the charter schools advocate hanging by a 50-50 thread. Just one more “no” vote and DeVos is done — a prospect that seems tantalizingly close for Democrats but that GOP leaders say they’re confident won’t happen.
Author Stephen King, a Maine resident, tweeted to his 2.8 million followers: “Thanks to Susan Collins for saying ‘No’ on Betsy DeVos. Notice that it’s possible to be a good Republican and still say no to Donald Trump.”