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Loathed by Liberals, DeVos Sticks Up for Them on LGBT Issues, DACA

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was the Trump nominee liberals loved to hate. Now, she’s their first – and, maybe, last – line of defense on key issues.

Betsy DeVos

It’s no secret that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was the Trump nominee that liberals loved to hate during her confirmation process. The Washington Post‘s Amber Phillips breaks it down in an article titled: “Why did Betsy DeVos become the Trump Cabinet nominee Democrats most loved to hate?“:

DeVos, for all the reasons listed above, provided Democrats the perfect opportunity to take their biggest stand yet against Trump. In the end, she got confirmed, but Democrats succeeded in making it one of the most contentious battles to date for a Cabinet nominee.

In a strange twist of fate, though, reporting from Wednesday suggests that DeVos stood up for liberal positions on LGBT rights and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, losing in both cases to more conservative voices in the Trump administration.

The New York Times‘ Jeremy Peters came first, with his report that DeVos fought Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Trump administration’s decision-making around transgender protections:

But Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off and told Mr. Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.

Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms. DeVos to relent. After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, the Republicans said, and told Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the alternative of resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along.

Then came a Politico report from Caitlin Emma claiming DeVos has “been cut out” from conversations on what to do about the controversial, Obama-era DACA program:

Another Republican familiar with administration conversations stressed that while it’s normal for agencies to disagree, DeVos has played a weakened role. In addition to losing this fight with Sessions, the source said, DeVos appears to have been cut out of the conversation on whether the administration should get rid of or maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was started by Obama and provides protections for young, undocumented immigrants.

DeVos aligned with most liberals on these issues, despite their vitriol toward her over the last several months. Whether they can work with her going forward, given pressure from the base to oppose everything the Trump administration does, remains to be seen.