It was inevitable. The controversy surrounding Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, gave “Saturday Night Live” a new target — and Kate McKinnon, who had previously played Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, got the role.
“DeVos” appeared on the Feb. 4 show during a mock news conference by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, played by Melissa McCarthy.
At one point during the news conference, Spicer brings out “DeVos,” saying, “I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Betsy DeVos” — mispronouncing her last name — “so we have her here to field some simple questions, which I’m sure she’s capable of doing.”
A “reporter” asked her this: “How do you value growth versus proficiency in measuring progress in students?”
That may sound technical, but it is actually a fundamental question in the world of education and has been for years. During the real DeVos’s Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 17, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) — who was an SNL player before he was a senator — asked her about it, and she looked at him with something resembling a blank stare. He said, “It surprises me that you don’t know this issue.” And then he said, “No, it doesn’t.”
That was a reference to the nominee’s inability to speak knowledgeably about a number of important education issues. Her confirmation-hearing performance, not to mention the facts that she never attended a public school, never sent her children to one and has called the American public education system a “dead end,” has led critics to say she isn’t qualified for the job.
At one point in the Jan. 17 hearing on Capitol Hill, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) asked her whether she would agree that guns don’t belong in schools. She responded: “I will refer back to Sen. [Mike] Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”
Back to SNL:
McKinnon as DeVos points to a “reporter” and says, “Yes, the man.” He asks the question on growth vs. proficiency and she responds:
Well yes, I don’t know anything about school, but I do think there should be a school, probably Jesus school, and I do think it should have walls and roof and guns for potential grizzlies.
McCarthy as Spicer said, “Betsy, that’s enough for now.”