Joe Biden’s behavior toward Betsy DeVos when they first met could get him in trouble for sexual harassment under the president’s proposed changes to Title IX, the former education secretary divulged to Megyn Kelly on SiriusXM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show” on Wednesday.
In her only encounter with Biden, DeVos said, she was backstage after a speech and in a wheelchair. “He came up to me — I had never met him before in my life — he came up to me, put his hands on my shoulders, and his forehead on my forehead for several seconds, and had a conversation with me,” she remembered. “If he had done that as a student on a college campus, under his proposed rule, I would have a Title IX sexual harassment allegation to levy against him because of his conduct.”
DeVos added that she had heard from “many students who had lesser encounters or lesser situations than what I had to encounter with him.” Biden “wants this for college students but yet will not acknowledge and agree to probes into much more egregious conduct on his part against other women,” she continued.
Biden tapped Catherine Lhamon to be assistant secretary for civil rights in his Education Department. Lhamon was infamous in the Obama administration for using Title IX to implement campus “kangaroo courts” that even the late, left-leaning Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg critiqued for “not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard.”
As The Federalist’s Emily Jashinsky noted, “The guidance issued in 2011 and enforced adamantly by Lhamon made federal funding contingent upon schools denying due process rights to accused students, denying cross-examinations, requiring a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard over ‘clear and convincing’ or ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ and defining sexual violence broadly to include ‘rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion,’ but with zero definitions.”
When DeVos took charge of the Department of Education under former President Donald Trump, she revamped the Title IX rules for handling sexual assault cases, restoring basic protections of due process for the accused. Now, the Biden DOE under Secretary Miguel Cardona is seeking to reverse those reforms. Some of the proposed changes include removing requirements that the accused be allowed to see the evidence against them and cross-examine their accusers, as well as reinstituting the system of a “single investigator [who can] adjudicate charges by conducting private interviews with the parties,” a legal sidestep that earned the moniker “kangaroo courts.”
In addition, the Biden administration is attempting to stretch the definition of “sex” in Title IX to include “gender identity” and “sexual orientation,” which could see students accused of “sexual harassment” for simply referring to other students by the “wrong” pronouns, as happened in Wisconsin in May.
“This administration is so bent on trying to politicize and weaponize a law that was meant to protect women and to give them access to education, not to weaponize it to harm others,” DeVos explained to Kelly. “This is a really, really bad direction that they’re taking.”
Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.
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