Returning to the week's most cringe-worthy political interview, Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon channeled Betsy DeVos as a guest on "Weekend Update." SNL's version of DeVos tried to explain away her 60 Minutes snafu and clarify the Secretary of Education's view on matters like charter schools, civil rights, and the public's general disdain for her.
To start SNL's DeVos explained why her interview with CBS News' Lesley Stahl went so poorly. "Well, I think the problem is that the words that were coming out of my mouth were bad. And that is because they came from my brain," McKinnon said.
The real DeVos was criticized for not fully grasping issues basic to education. She struggled to answer simple questions and admitted not to having intentionally visited a failing school. She defended herself on Twitter after the interview aired, saying she shared additional information with 60 Minutes that it didn't include.
In SNL's take on the interview, "Weekend Update" co-host Colin Jost asked McKinnon, playing DeVos, for her opinion on "charter schools versus public schools." DeVos is a well known advocate for "school choice," the idea that parents can choose to put their children in other schools rather than their designated public school if they believe the education is better — and the public dollars should follow students to private, charter, or religious schools. Critics say it leaves neighborhood public schools underfunded and destined to fail.
McKinnon's explanation on her thoughts was brutal. "I don't like to think of things in terms of school," she said.
She continued her answer adding that "it should be left up to the states." McKinnon said, "In Wyoming for example there are many potential Grizzlies. There should be a school for bears. And in Louisiana crocodile crossing guards. And in South Carolina, stop being trans. That's what's best, you know, for them."
DeVos on 60 Minutes said that some school policies, like whether or not to arm teachers in response to school shootings, would be decided by the states. She also, together with Secretary General Jeff Sessions, removed trans protections put in place by the Obama administration for students in public schools.
McKinnon's DeVos addressed the gun controversy specifically. Jost asked for her stance on guns in school. "And again, I think states should choose how they protect their schools based on their circumstances," McKinnon told the audience. "For example, if two Home Alone-style bandits want to rob a school, that school should have the option of red hot door knobs or a paint can that swings down a staircase."
"Good schools, good choice," McKinnon continued. "Whatever they choose, we are working hard to ensure that all schools are safe learning environments for guns."
Jost also asked McKinnon's DeVos about why she was so poorly liked, noting she was the most-protested member of the cabinet. The real DeVos explored why people disliked her in the CBS interview, "I'm not so sure exactly how that happened. But I think there are a lot of really powerful forces allied against change."
McKinnon had a different answer. "You know, I think it's because I do not do a good job, and I can't because I don't know how," McKinnon said.
In a question not posed to the real DeVos, Jost asked McKinnon's version, "Do you even like your job?" McKinnon's answer was blunt. "No, I do not."
"I do spend most of it getting screamed at while climbing into an Escalade," McKinnon continued. "But I do like visiting good school and doing worksheets with cute little blacks and the occasional stinky, poor white."
The real DeVos was challenged on civil rights of students too on 60 Minutes. The Department of Education is reportedly thinking to nix a regulation that tried to prevent black children being disciplined more harshly and at higher rates than white students for the same behavior.
Asked if she really wanted to say that on TV, McKinnon said, "Oh, I did a fudge. Look, I may not be very good on camera, but behind the scenes my ideas are much worse."
With this "Weekend Update" sketch, it seems SNL will not be lightening up on the Trump administration anytime soon.