President Donald Trump said his new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had a "very unfair trial" during confirmation proceedings, The Hill reports.
Her confirmation had been tied 50-50 in the Senate before Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote for her.
Trump congratulated DeVos during a parent-teacher conference at the White House on Tuesday. He said the "real winner" will be the students, according to the website.
"Just to do it very, very formally, I want to congratulate you on having gone through a very tough trial and a very unfair trial — and you won," Trump said. "And there's something very nice about that.
"The real winner will be the children ... of this country."
Critics had characterized DeVos as an opponent of public education, The Hill noted. She is a billionaire Republican donor and a vocal advocate of charter schools, the website said.
On Tuesday, Trump pointed to "failing schools" and pledged to improve them, particularly in the African-American community.
"Our goal is a clear and very safe community, great schools, and we want those jobs that are high-paying jobs," he said.
The Washington Post reported Trump also vowed to overhaul education.
"We want every child to have an opportunity to climb the ladder to success," Trump said before meeting with parents and teachers, according to the newspaper. "It all begins with education and that's why we're here this morning."
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