Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao became the first cabinet-level secretary to resign from the Trump administration on Thursday, following Wednesday's violence in the Capitol. In the middle of Congress's certification of the electoral college vote, Trump supporters breached the building. Four people died in the chaos.
“Our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed," Chao said in a statement. "As I'm sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation. pic.twitter.com/rFxPsBoh6t— Sec. Elaine Chao (@SecElaineChao) January 7, 2021
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning, per two officials. Cites yesterday’s events as reason in email to DOT colleagues, per draft. First Cabinet secretary to resign. Chao is married to Mitch McConnell. More TK.— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 7, 2021
Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Wednesday issued a somber rebuke of Wednesday's chaos and urged his colleagues to move on and certify the election results so the country can also move on. They did just that, and President Trump acknowledged that "an orderly transition" will take place, despite saying that he "disagrees" with the outcome.
Chao said that she intends to help her likely successor Pete Buttigieg, who was recently nominated by President-elect Joe Biden, lead the department. Her resignation comes after the resignation of ambassador to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney, who once served as Trump's chief of staff.