Meghan McCain Offended That Anyone Would Suggest Wealthy People Are Out of Touch

Meghan McCain Offended That Anyone Would Suggest Wealthy People Are Out of Touch

How is Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos almost defunding the Special Olympics actually about Meghan McCain? Let’s let McCain herself tell us.

The hosts of The View were talking about DeVos’s department zeroing out its funding contribution to the Special Olympics in the Trump administration’s budget request for the next fiscal year. DeVos has been getting hammered in the media and Congress this week over the decision. On Thursday, President Trump announced he has reversed his Education Secretary’s request, and will ask for the funds to be reinstated. (Not that they were likely to actually get cut when Congress writes appropriations bills later this year, as I explained here.)

Joy Behar and Ana Navarro openly wondered why DeVos is even working for Donald Trump after he threw her under the bus on this story. As Behar pointed out, the woman is insanely wealthy and doesn’t need the paycheck. (Her father was a billionaire and her husband’s family, which founded Amway, was worth an estimated $5.4 billion as of 2016, according to Forbes.)

This led McCain to note that she thinks “it’s admirable when people are extremely wealthy and decide to go into public service.” Given McCain’s background, this position is no surprise.

But her opinion also betrays a lack of knowledge of DeVos’s view of public service in the arena of education. The Education Secretary is actively hostile towards public schools and wants to reorient national education policy towards favoring charter and private schools, particularly those that emphasize religious education.

This is not public service, unless one considers favoring the interests of wealthy Christians like DeVos over those of the vast majority of the public to be a noble endeavor.

McCain’s ultimate point seems to be that she does not like people impugning DeVos’s character or questioning her motives for taking a public sector job, telling her co-hosts, “If we can just again extract emotion from some of these conversations and stick with facts instead of doing character assassinations on people, I think it’s more effective.”

When her co-hosts pushed back on the idea of separating facts and emotions where the actions of the Trump administration are concerned, McCain nearly erupted. “I don’t like her. I don’t like him. As everyone is very clear, I have a lot of personal feelings about the president, but for me to get through this administration, I can’t traffic in this kind of way. I have to stick with facts or I’m going to lose my mind.”

Obviously, McCain is a bit touchy about people suggesting the very wealthy are out of touch with most Americans.

DeVos’s interest in education cannot be separated from her wealth. She and her family have long used that wealth to gain access to the upper echelons of power in her home state of Michigan, and through that access have tried to radically reshape the landscape of public education in that state. Her wealth and access have now given her an opportunity to do the same thing at a national level. There is nothing wrong with questioning her character in doing so, especially when her goals favor the interests of her class at the expense of the egalitarianism upon which American public education was founded.

If Meghan McCain agrees with DeVos’s views on public education, she should just say so. Otherwise she’s just defending a member of her own class, even if she thinks she is doing otherwise.

Watch the clip up top, via ABC.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.