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Booker Blasted DeVos, But Spoke to Her Organization in 2012 and 2016

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) was highly critical of Betsy DeVos this month and last, but spoke to her organization’s policy summit in 2012 and 2016.

Sen. Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spared no ill words about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her confirmation process, but some have pointed out in recent days that Booker attended the policy summit for DeVos’ organization on two separate occassions.

Booker’s initial statement after DeVos’ hearing, in January 2017, was critical but cautious: “I still have serious concerns,” and “there are a number of departures between Mrs. DeVos[‘] policy beliefs and mine.”

As the partisan rancor over DeVos’ confirmation ramped up, Booker took a harder line in a 45-minute speech during the Senate Democrats’ all-nighter on DeVos: “We need someone who will defend the civil rights of our students.”

But some have pointed out on Twitter that Booker spoke at a policy summit – on school choice, no less – at the American Federation for Children (AFC), the organization DeVos chaired for eight years, in 2012:

In the speech, Booker said, on school choice, “I’m going to fight for the freedom and the liberty and the choice and the options of my people.” He criticized politicians who oppose school choice but send their own kids to private schools.

Indeed, Booker is listed among several elected officials speaking at AFC’s third policy summit in 2012.

He also spoke at AFC’s summit more recently: last year. Just a few months ago, he called AFC an “incredible organization.”

Booker also noted in the 2016 speech he’s “proud to work with Democrats and Republicans about expanding educational opportuinty, and I will continue that fight where I am.”

Something must have changed in the last eight months. Among them, Booker’s not-so-secret positioning to run for president in 2020.