WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) — It was brief, but Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), made the most of the five minutes he was given to question Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.
The nominee was pressed as to whether she would support existing federal education mandates, before Murphy got to the heart of his questions.
“One final question; do you think that guns have any place in or around schools?” Murphy asked.
“I think that’s best left to the states locales and states to decide,” DeVos said in response.
DeVos’s answer didn’t satisfy the junior Democratic Senator, who pressed on. It’s Devos’ response that made headlines.
“You can’t say definitively today that guns shouldn’t be in schools?” asked Murphy.
“I will refer back to Senator Enzi (R-WY), and the school he was talking about in Wapiti, Wyoming. I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos said.
DeVos did express sympathy to those affected by gun violence.
“My heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”
In response, Senator Murphy later tweeted: “Tonight #BetsyDeVos would not oppose putting guns in our schools. I was shaken to the core by her answer. So should every American parent.”
DeVos confirmation must first go through the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions. She was introduced by former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who praised DeVos and pushed for her approval. President-Elect Donald Trump has said previously that he wants to ban gun-free zones around schools. DeVos said she would support Trump in those efforts.