Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey reached the zenith of hypocrisy on Tuesday as he railed against the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. As mayor of Newark, Booker teamed with DeVos on the board of Alliance for School Choice, which fought for using taxpayer dollars for charter, private and religious schools.
But when it came time for her nomination, Booker voted against her, saying, “I found many of her answers inadequate, unsatisfactory … or just plain violative of what I believe a leader in that position should do,” adding that her refusal to rule out allowing guns in schools “to protect from potential grizzlies,” and arguing that the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act should be enforced by states was problematic.
Booker concluded, “There are numerous things in her testimony that I found problematic and in totality made it not even a question for me whether I was going to support her.”
Booker tried to tear at the Senate’s heartstrings:
There’s a child, I think, that wonders if this country will prove itself true to them. They’re probably enduring some things I never had to endure. They’re probably worried about their safety. They’re probably being put in a situation where they’re questioning their worth. My prayer is that that child knows that even though it ain’t perfect, and it won’t be easy, that they’re not alone, that there’ll be people fighting for them, because I was taught, in the words of a great poet, that “there’s a dream in this land with its back against the wall; to save the dream for one, we must save it for all.
But just last year, Booker appeared before DeVos’ organization, the American Federation for Children, and called it an “incredible organization … There are some people in this room who really were the difference makers as I was climbing the ladder in Newark, New Jersey … you see, Newark has gone through in the last decade an astonishing change when it comes to school choice, when it comes to a massive expansion of opportunities for our children, things that I talked about with people in this room more than a decade ago.”
As far back as 2012, giving the 2012 keynote address before the American Federation for Children, Booker said this:
And then there are people that say, “I’m against school choice.” And I don’t understand that. I cannot ever stand up and stand against a parent having options, because I benefited from my parents having options. And when people tell me they’re against school choice, whether it’s The Opportunity Scholarship Act or charter schools, I look at them and say, “As soon as you’re telling me you’re willing to send your kid to a failing school in my city or in Camden or Trenton, then I’ll be with you.” But as far as I know, all the people representing my city right now, I’m not exaggerating, I’ve looked, maybe I’m wrong, but all the people representing my city in elected office that have children in schools, let’s start at the top. I’m going to be out there fighting for my president but he does not send his kids to Washington D.C. public schools. I’ve got a governor in the state house; he does not send his kids to Trenton public schools. I could go you all the way down to city council people in Newark that do not send their kids. So what have we created? A system that if you’re connected, elected, have wealth and privilege you get freedom in this country? And now you want to deny that to my community? No. I’m going to fight for the freedom and the liberty, and the choice and the options of my people the same way you will defend that right for yourself.
Yet Booker continued his hypocrisy even after DeVos won the nomination, tweeting:
Video of Booker in 2016:
Video from 2012: