DeVos: 'My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media'

DeVos: 'My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media'
© Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hit back at the media and her critics Thursday for knocking her January confirmation hearing performance, saying it’s not her job to “win a popularity contest.”

“You may have heard some of the wonderful things the mainstream media has called me lately,” DeVos said on Thursday at the conservative conference CPAC.

“I, however, pride myself on being a mother, grandmother, a life partner, and perhaps the first person to tell [Sen.] Bernie SandersBernie SandersMcConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence MORE (I-Vt.) to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” she continued to big applause from the crowd.

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DeVos faced a contentious, close confirmation process that forced Vice President Pence to cast a historic tie-breaking vote to get her confirmed. The billionaire GOP donor is a vocal supporter of school choice and charter schools, which Democrats and other DeVos opponents used to paint her as an opponent of public education.

During her confirmation hearing, DeVos squared off against Democratic senators, with notable grillings from Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPeterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district Getting tight — the psychology of cancel culture Tina Smith wins Democratic Senate primary in Minnesota MORE (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon No new taxes for the ultra rich — fix bad tax policy instead MORE (D-Mass.) that went viral on social media.

President Trump’s Education secretary pushed back on that criticism and reiterated her promise to improve education for all Americans. She was greeted by a standing ovation when she walked onto the stage to make her speech.

“The media has had its fun with me and that’s okay,” DeVos said. “My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media or the education establishment in Washington, D.C.”

“My job as secretary of Education is to make education work for students, but today we know the system is failing too many kids.”