Bloomberg's Wallbank looks ahead to DeVos vote, analyzes cabinet choices

Jan 22, 2017

A U.S. Senate committee vote is expected soon for Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. WKAR's Peter Whorf has analysis from his Washington D.C. - based guest.


PW: Derek Wallbank is an editor for Bloomberg News.  He covers the White House and Congress. We're talking about US Senate hearings for education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. Derek, you've said she has the votes. Sharp criticism though from the Democrats. Derek, remind us why that is...

DW: There's a lot of question marks that get in there. And these are a lot of things that a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill just couldn't believe and are furious about. I think there was one moment that Democrats in particular have taken great pains to highlight. She was asked by Senator Chris Murphy who represents Connecticutt...think in your mind 'Newtown'...'Sandy Hook'. And Betsy DeVos referenced Wyoming, that might want guns to protect against bears. And the clip of this went viral...just...all of it. That's how this is gonna go. It's absolutely two different world views.

PW: Derek, speaking of Betsy DeVos, one of a number of billionaires. What does this mean for us going forward?

DW: Well, it's going to mean that the cabinet looks very different than before. Very, very different. People who are coming from the sort of backgrounds that a lot of Donald Trump's cabinet nominees are have different sorts of experiences. You can expect that to be reflected the entire way through. A great example of this...I'm not sure that Rex Tillerson is a billionaire. He's a millionaire multiple, multiple times over. He's a secretary of state nominee. He's also senior leader as Exxon Mobile. Exxon Mobile deals with all countries in the world that have an interest in energy...which is quite a lot of them. 

I would extend that across a lot of different things. Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary is also following a rich Barack Obama appointee. But again, you're talking about a guy who is a legitimate billionaire who has done a lot of commerce in his life...but it goes like that. In this case, Donald Trump comes out of  a group of folks who look at a very sort of balance sheet, bottom-line mentality, who have experience in complicated financial transactions.

PW: Some have said he is making appointments that would shake up or even tear down areas that they're charged with. What's your assessment of that?

DW: I think that's probably right. I would be prepared for this administration to go 180 degrees different than the one that it's replacing.