On November 23, President-elect Donald Trump nominated the first female cabinet members of his Presidency, Nikki Haley and Betsy DeVos. They have been nominated for Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Education respectively. According to the White House official website, the purpose of the cabinet is “to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office”. Each person in this inner circle serve as an expert in the field of their position This cabinet also forms the order of succession should anything happen to the President or anyone ranked below them. As advisors for Trump, they, along with the other nominees chosen for the Presidential Cabinet, will play a part in shaping the Trump administration. Introducing, the female nominees for the President’s inner circle:
Nikki Haley—Ambassador to the U.N.
Haley has served as Governor of South Carolina for the past six years and has accepted Trump’s nomination as Ambassador to the United Nations. She is choosing to step down as governor two years before the end of her term. On the Office of the Governor’s website, one of the main reasons she is choosing to accept this nomination is because of a…
“… sense of duty. When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed.”
Little is known about how Haley will choose to conduct herself in this new position, pending the vote of the Senate, but the hope is that because she is an Indian-American woman who has repeatedly spoken out against Donald Trump during his campaign, she will be a strong advocate for those who experience injustice on a daily basis, according to a recent article from the New York Times.
There is a concern, however, that while Haley has traveled extensively as Governor and whose husband served in Afghanistan, that she is not experienced enough to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations, especially compared to our current Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power.
Betsy DeVos—Secretary of Education
DeVos’s nomination came as a shock to both right- and left-leaning voters. DeVos is a supporter of Common Core, which is a set of rigorous academic standards that tell teachers and schools what skills and content students should know by the time they graduate. The criticism from several conservative voters is that Common Core takes away control from local schools of what skills and content they would like to cover. This was something that Trump vowed to repeal once he became President. By nominating someone who is an active supporter of Common Core, this is seen as a betrayal.
The National Education Association argues that DeVos is a disastrous choice when it comes to public education.
“… her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students,” said Eskelsen García, President of the National Education Association. “These schemes do nothing to help our most vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps… By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators, and communities.”
A recent graduate student of St. Kate’s and a current educator, who wishes to remain anonymous, also shared her concerns about the appointment of DeVos.
“[According to Trump and Devos’s policy plan] priority for federal money is given to states that favor private school choice… making an incentive for already impoverished students to switch from public schools to private schools. I’m not saying that private schools are worse that public schools, but I believe the majority of private schools are religiously affiliated, taking out choice for a mass population of students who do not want to go to a religiously or Christian-based private schools. This creates inequitable funding for students of all backgrounds, socio-economic and otherwise,” said the former Katie.
DeVos is similar to Haley in that she also worked against Trump during his campaign. While she is a registered Republican, she worked to raise money during the campaigning season for other Republican candidates and spoke critically about Trump during his campaign.
Nevertheless, Trump said after he nominated DeVos, “Betsy is a brilliant and passionate education advocate. Under her leadership, we will reform the U.S. 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.”
The former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, wrote on his Facebook page on Nov. 23, 2016,
“Betsy Devos is an outstanding pick for Secretary of Education… I cannot think of [a] more effective and passionate change agent to press for a new education vision, one in which students, rather than adults and bureaucracies, become the priority in our nation’s classrooms.”
Bush also praised DeVos for her work in “championing the right of all parents to choose schools that best ensure their children’s success” in this same post.
There are many more positions in Trump’s cabinet to be filled yet. Haley and DeVos are two of those people and contributing to the general public’s curiosity around what Trump’s presidency will be like.