Less than fifteen minutes into CNN's New Day Monday morning, co-host Chris Cuomo ripped the White House's gun policy proposal while acting as an advocate for gun control. Just minutes later, Cuomo and his fellow panelists criticized Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's performance during a 60 Minutes Interview and seized the opportunity to bash the idea of school choice.
Cuomo issued a call to action for gun control advocates, saying “Nothing will change unless the politicians who fight change get punished for fighting change and those who push for change get rewarded for pushing change.” He also referred to the Trump administration's most recent school safety proposal, which does not cover “all sales” or raise the age to purchase certain firearms as “a joke.” Cuomo longed for the days when President Trump seemed more enthusiastic about standing up to the NRA.
The conversation then turned to Betsy DeVos’s interview on 60 Minutes over the weekend, where Lesley Stahl asked the Secretary of Education if she had ever visited the “really bad schools.” DeVos replied by saying “I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming” and agreed with Stahl that she probably should. Panelist John Avlon called the exchange “the biggest train wreck of an interview I have seen in a long time” as well as “a rolling disaster of an interview.”
In addition to slamming the interview, it did not take long for the philosopher kings on CNN to bash the idea of school choice, which DeVos has made one of her signature issues; much to the chagrin of the powerful teachers’ unions. Cuomo complained that the idea of school choice, where you “let the money follow the kid”, would create imbalances by diverting money away from the public schools. He pointed out that imbalances already exist because wealthy neighborhoods have really high performing schools while poorer neighborhoods have lackluster schools.
Turning on the TV this morning, one could have easily mistaken CNN’s New Day for a propaganda network designed to advance the goals of groups such as “Everytown for Gun Safety” and the National Education Association. For all of the talk about how Republicans have tethered themselves to special interest groups, the left and the media are no different. Anyone who says otherwise is, as Chris Cuomo would say, spouting ‘B.S.’
CNN New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: Everybody knew who follows this issue and who understands politics knows that we were going to wind up here, David. Everybody does. Politicians on this issue don’t do anything out of conscience. They only do it out of consequence. The kids are compelling. We’re not used to seeing a group of victims that play to your sympathy and can act intelligently and make arguments the way that they did. But it was true then and it is true today. Nothing will change unless the politicians who fight change get punished for fighting change and those who push for change get rewarded for pushing change. They’re not even going to cover all sales. This is a joke and now it’s on the Democrats to figure out what they do but we know how that goes, David. We don’t have the votes. We don’t have the votes. But they could make a decision to put a line in the stand. We can parade the kids out. They’ll be on this morning, they’ll be upset, they’ll be making their case. This was never about putting it on their shoulders. It was always about leadership in Washington and they’re falling short. Period. Where am I wrong?
DAVID GREGORY: No, I think that’s, that’s absolutely right. And the reality is that whatever happens, the NRA will always be there. And they will be fighting their fight, they will be working in the grassroots because this is an issue of liberty. This, they take it away from the school shootings immediately and they make it about liberty, and about government overreach, and they touch all the buttons that their voters are sympathetic to.
CUOMO: In fact, they’re going to win and get more guns. Because they are going to have guns put in places where we don’t have them right now. Guns, schools are gun-free zones. There will be more guns, not less after this. That’s just the reality.
GREGORY: I think the President has to re-evaluate it straight up on this, which is it doesn’t matter what he says in meetings that are televised. That’s not leadership. Okay? And if he wants to get credit for something like, for that, that’s never going to pass muster.
CUOMO: Sometimes you have to fight the NRA, he said. Sometimes, you guys have got to fight the NRA and if they’re against you, they’re against you. Where’d that go?
GREGORY: But he’s showing, he’s showing none of that right now and to Alisyn’s point about showing the fact that he’s been going after commissions. This is all theater. All that matters is how much pressure will he put on Republican leaders in an election year to follow through on any of these matters, including Federal money for, for gun training in schools, for raising the age and so forth. What kind of pressure is he going to put on Congress for any of that or does he expect them to do it on their own?
CUOMO: What do you do about malls and all the other places that mass shootings happen more often than they do in schools? This is a band aid that just works to the advantage of that committee there.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, we want to talk about Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary. She was on 60 Minutes last night and she had some puzzling answers. She was asked about how the public school systems, you know, obviously, she’s for school choice, right? So some of that will bleed money away from the public school system because the money follows the kids so if you believe in school choice, it by definition, it means that the public schools will be having less money. She was asked about that by Lesley Stahl, particularly from her home state of Michigan, so here is one of the answers.
LESLEY STAHL: Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?
BETSY DEVOS: I don’t know, overall. I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better.
STAHL: The whole state is not doing well.
DEVOS: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where the students are doing well.
STAHL: Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what, what they’re doing?
DEVOS: I have not, I have not, I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.
STAHL: Maybe you should.
DEVOS: Maybe I should, yes.
JOHN AVLON: I’m sorry, that is the biggest train wreck of an interview I have seen in a long time. And look, I’m someone who is really sympathetic to school choice, actually. I think education reform should be a bipartisan priority. But that is not the answer of somebody who’s got their hand on the tiller of our education system.
CUOMO: Actually is the answer of someone who has their hand on the tiller of our education policy. That’s who she is. That’s what she does.
CAMEROTA: But it’s not the answer of somebody who has their finger on the pulse.
AVLON: Right but whatever the metaphor is, let’s, you know, this is, this is not, you know, this is, Lesley Stahl served her a softball to your home state. Nothing, crickets. And, you know, you’re right. Maybe I should be, you know, visiting disadvantaged schools. I mean, that is a rolling disaster of an interview, unfortunately.
CUOMO: It’s actually, David, it’s actually spot-on, though, right? That’s who DeVos is. That’s what she brings to this position. She doesn’t know how this job is ordinarily done. She doesn’t have a manifest intention to make things differently for these kinds of schools. She does have a bourgeois sense of how to deal with education.
CUOMO: That’s what it is. The idea of letting, let the money follow the kid, that has always been a troubling premise because if you do that, you’re going to wind up having imbalances. You know that and you already have the fundamental imbalance, David, which is...but the biggest imbalance you’re going to have is what? If you are wealthy, right? Where I live on the east side of Manhattan, the public school is like Harvard. Harvard. You go in there, PS 6, you’re going to Harvard, all the smartest kids, all the best families. Why? Because it’s a wealthy place. You go to places where they don’t have the money, you’re going to have a problem. She knows that. She’s doing nothing to change it. That interview was just the truth. That’s the whole issue.
GREGORY: And look, the school reform, especially the Federal level, where the Federal level gets involved and controls its money has been an ongoing reform effort that requires a lot of toughness and a lot of creativity and core competence. And by all appearances, our Education Secretary at the moment is not up for the job.