The nomination of Betsy DeVos as United States Secretary of Education is one of Donald Trump's most controversial choices as president. After she invoked grizzly bears as a reason to have guns in schools—to say nothing of having no experience in public schools in her entire life—Senate Democrats roundly opposed her nomination. A 50-50 vote split (with two dissenting votes from Republicans) was broken with a historic ballot from Vice President Mike Pence, who confirmed DeVos to the position late last week.
With DeVos now running the Department of Education, people are on the lookout for impending signs of trouble. This morning, a major slip-up emerged from the department's verified Twitter account. In the midst of Black History Month, they misspelled the name of sociologist and activist W. E. B. Du Bois while trying to promote one of his quotes:
Some well known Twitter personalities were quick to spot the error, particularly since the misspelling matches up with how DeVos spells her name:
Realizing (or being told) they made a mistake, whoever was behind the account attempted to make up for their error. Unfortunately, the follow-up only made the original crime worse, as the since-deleted Tweet contained a misuse of the word "apologizes" instead of "apologies":
A redo eventually got it right, but at that point the damage had been done. The optics of the mistake, coming from a department tasked with ensuring best educational practices for the future of the country, caused Twitter users to rip them apart for the mistakes:
Despite the blistering feedback on social media, the account still has the original, error-filled tweet up on their account alongside a version that spelled Du Bois' name correctly.
This isn't the first time this weekend a Republican-controlled entity had some trouble quoting a historic figure. In celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, the GOP's official account tweeted out a quote commonly attributed to Honest Abe:
A site called Quote Investigator, dedicated to tracking down citations and origins of common quotes and phrases, has concluded there is "no substantive evidence that Lincoln used this expression." The first example they could find appeared in an advertisement in a 1946 book, released over 80 years following the former president's death.
Both stories are examples of how quoting a historic figure can go wrong, for very different reasons. In the case of the Department of Education, the burden of proof and accuracy should be exceedingly high. After all, if America is supposed to trust its children are being guided in the right direction, you should be able to prove you're capable of doing so, whether you're the leader of the department or just a social media manager.