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Senators grill Trump’s pick for education secretary in best cringe comedy of the year

Betsy DeVos (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Betsy DeVos (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In an attempt to drain Washington’s swamp of insiders and billionaire donors, incoming president Donald Trump has nominated insider and billionaire donor Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. Yesterday, for over three hours, senators questioned her on her positions relevant to education, and, as might be expected, the Twitter commentariat spent the afternoon trying to own DeVos or trying to own the people trying to own her.

But nobody owned DeVos as hard as DeVos herself. While comfortable with a couple of home-base talking points—namely “letting the states decide,” i.e. defunding public schools—she grimaced through all other questions with the ineptitude of her possible future boss but none of his cocksure, idiot swagger. The results are a blend of the heated, sardonic policy debates of an Armando Iannucci script and the wince-worthy awkwardness of a Ricky Gervais dark comedy. They must be watched.

Here is former vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine delving into a heated war zone of meaninglessness and emerging victorious:

Al Franken, the junior U.S. senator from Minnesota, offered up a simple question about the debate as to whether standardized testing should gauge students’ proficiency or their growth. If you are not up on that debate, that is okay. You have not been nominated to be secretary of education. When DeVos had no idea what it was, Franken prodded her toward sputtering clarification.

Perhaps most outrageously, when questioned about guns in schools by U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut, DeVos responded: What if grizzly bears attack?

The ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is slated to air sometime this year.

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