Nets Cheered On Democrats’ Failed Effort to Dump DeVos

Before Vice President Mike Pence delivered the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to confirm President Trump’s Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos during the noon ET hour on Tuesday, all three network morning shows heralded Democratic senators pulling an “all-nighter” in an attempt to obstruct her confirmation.

At the top of NBC’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced: “Breaking overnight, Senate Democrats pull an all-nighter to protest the confirmation of President Trump's pick for Education Secretary....A showdown vote looming today.” During a report moments later, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: “...if Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, does get confirmed today, it will be by the narrowest possible margin.”

Leading off the taped segment, the reporter declared: “Overnight on Capitol Hill, Democrats taking a stand, with an all-night talk-a-thon aimed at President’s pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.” Amid soundbites of Democratic senators ranting against the nomination, Alexander lamented them coming up short: “To block DeVos’s confirmation, Democrats need three Republicans to join their effort, so far, they only have two.”

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King touted “a live picture from the Senate floor, where Democrats are still explaining why DeVos should be rejected.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes seemed to plead on their behalf: “It is a last-ditch attempt to try to change the mind of at least one Republican, any Republican, that is all they need to defeat DeVos. Who has become so contentious that teachers in some school districts have begun wearing all red or all black to show their opposition.”

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Like Alexander’s report on Today, Cordes’s report featured several soundbites of Democrats denouncing DeVos. The Capitol Hill correspondent highlighted liberal activists putting pressure on the lawmakers: “More than a dozen senate Democrats pulled the all-nighter....Railing against Betsy DeVos and reading aloud from constituents’ letters....They are reacting to a torrent of mail....And hundreds of thousands of phone calls....Some senators had to assign extra staffers just to man the phones.”

Cordes parroted partisan talking points against the cabinet pick: “DeVos is a billionaire businesswoman and longtime advocate for school voucher programs, which Democrats argue divert funds from public schools....They say her lack of public school experience was on display in her confirmation hearing.”

She then claimed the GOP was under fire: “The controversy has followed Republicans home with demonstrations outside their state offices. But so far, only two Republicans say they’re voting no.” Only a single clip of a Republican voicing support for DeVos was included in the segment, that of Texas Senator John Cornyn, explaining: “So, yes, Ms. DeVos is going to shake things up a little bit. But more importantly, she’s going to be part of this effort to return power to parents and teachers.”

Opening ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos told viewers: “Let's take a look at the Senate right now. Democrats in the middle of a 24-hour push to stop Betsy DeVos from becoming Education Secretary.” Minutes later, correspondent Mary Bruce promoted the “24-hour marathon hail Mary” by Democrats, “making a last-ditch attempt to try and block Betsy DeVos.”

She continued: “They've been here on the Senate floor talking all night long, voicing their concerns about her lack of experience. They're hoping to convince just one more Republican to oppose her. That's all it would take to sink her confirmation. But it does not appear to be working.”

Here are excerpts of the February 7 coverage on the NBC, CBC, and NBC morning shows:

Today
7:02 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let us start with our top story on a Tuesday morning, President Trump facing challenges on several fronts. From Senate Democrats trying to block one of his cabinet nominees to a key court decision over his travel ban that could come as early as today. We have these things all covered, starting with NBC’s Peter Alexander, who’s at the White House this morning. Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Hey Matt, good morning to you. Senior aides here at the White House tell me they're confident they have the votes, but if Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, does get confirmed today, it will be by the narrowest possible margin. Democrats have targeted her from the very start, again overnight. Right now here is a live look at the Senate floor, this is 24-hour talk-a-thon. You can see Dick Durbin of Illinois there. They expect it to last until noon today, when the Senate is scheduled to vote.         

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: All-Night Fight Against DeVos; Senate Dems Make Case as Vote Set for Later Today]

ALEXANDER: Overnight on Capitol Hill, Democrats taking a stand, with an all-night talk-a-thon aimed at President’s pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

SEN. AL FRANKEN [D-MINNESOTA]: This is not a job for amateurs.

SEN. TIM KAINE [D-VIRGINIA]: If you cannot be a champion for public schools, you should not be Secretary of Education.

ALEXANDER: To block DeVos’s confirmation, Democrats need three Republicans to join their effort, so far, they only have two. With that vote expected today, Vice President Mike Pence is set to make history, as the first VP to break a 50/50 tie to confirm a cabinet nominee.

(...)

8:03 AM ET

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump is waging war on two fronts – pressing an appeals court to reinstate his immigration order, which temporarily bans travel for refugees and some foreign citizens, and working to get his controversial Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, confirmed. Democrats are on the Senate floor right now in an all-out protest trying to block her.

(...)

8:05 AM ET

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN [D-MASSACHUSETTS]: This whole process stinks.

WELKER: Meanwhile, overnight, Democrats holding a rare all-night talk-a-thon in an effort to block Betsy DeVos, the President's pick for Education Secretary.

WARREN: It is difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education.

WELKER: Democrats arguing DeVos, a mega-donor, is unqualified.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: In my mind, she is the least qualified nominee in an historically unqualified cabinet.

(...)


Good Morning America
7:08 AM ET

(...)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s move on now to that showdown on Capitol Hill, where Democrats have kept the Senate open all through the night in their bid to block President Trump's pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. Our congressional correspondent Mary Bruce is there.

(...)

7:09 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats trying to hard to stop Betsy DeVos, but that vote is coming later today, she’s likely to get through?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Marathon Debate Over Trump’s Education Pick; Democrats Try to Block DeVos’ Confirmation]

MARY BRUCE: Yeah, George, what we've seen here is a 24-hour marathon hail Mary. Democrats making a last-ditch attempt to try and block Betsy DeVos. They've been here on the Senate floor talking all night long, voicing their concerns about her lack of experience. They're hoping to convince just one more Republican to oppose her. That's all it would take to sink her confirmation. But it does not appear to be working. This morning, DeVos is still headed for confirmation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, and if they don't find that other Republican, then the Vice President’s going to be called in. This is something that's never happened before.

BRUCE: This is something we've never seen before, George. The Vice President, Mike Pence, is likely headed here to the Capitol later today. He'll have to use his power as the tie-breaking vote to push DeVos over the finish line. The first time a vice president’s used that power to confirm a cabinet nominee.

(...)


CBS This Morning
7:12 AM ET

GAYLE KING: The Senate stayed up all night debating the nomination of Betsy Devos. She’s in line to be Education Secretary. And this is a live picture from the Senate floor, where Democrats are still explaining why DeVos should be rejected. Republican leaders plan to vote on that nomination today. Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill watching the nonstop debate. Nancy, good morning.

[On screen headline: “School Fight, Democrats Hold All-Night Protest Over DeVos Vote.”]

NANCY CORDES: Good morning. And those Democrats have been speaking on the Senate floor since noon yesterday. It is a last-ditch attempt to try to change the mind of at least one Republican, any Republican, that is all they need to defeat DeVos. Who has become so contentious that teachers in some school districts have begun wearing all red or all black to show their opposition.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Just one more Republican. That’s all we need. Just one.

CORDES: More than a dozen senate Democrats pulled the all-nighter.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Parents and teachers in this country are freaked out.

CORDES: Railing against Betsy DeVos and reading aloud from constituents’ letters.

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: She will not improve the experiences of marginalized communities.

CORDES: They are reacting to a torrent of mail.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Good morning, thank you for calling Senator Casey.

CORDES: And hundreds of thousands of phone calls.

UNIDIENTIFIED WOMAN#2: We will not be voting for this nominee.

CORDES: Some senators had to assign extra staffers just to man the phones.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY: I’ve received 48,000 pieces of mail opposed to Miss DeVos.

CORDES: DeVos is a billionaire businesswoman and longtime advocate for school voucher programs, which Democrats argue divert funds from public schools.

SEN. AL FRANKEN: She did not know what I was talking about.
        
CORDES: They say her lack of public school experience was on display in her confirmation
hearing.    

BETSY DEVOS: The proficiency, is if they’ve reached a like a third grade level for reading, etc.

FRANKEN: No I’m talking about the debate between proficiency and growth.

CORDES: The controversy has followed Republicans home with demonstrations outside their state offices. But so far, only two Republicans say they’re voting no. Others, like John Cornyn of Texas argued the education system needs an outsider.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN: So, yes, Ms. DeVos is going to shake things up a little bit. But more importantly, she’s going to be part of this effort to return power to parents and teachers.

CORDES: The vote is expected to take place at noon today. And there is still no sign of any additional GOP defections, which means, Norah, that the Senate will likely end up split 50-50 requiring Vice President Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote.

O’DONNELL: Another historic moment in the Senate. Nancy, thank you so much.

NBDaily Appointments Congress Education Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Mary Bruce Peter Alexander Nancy Cordes Betsy DeVos

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