Transportation Secretary Chao First Cabinet Member to Resign Over Capitol Siege

January 7, 2021 by Dan McCue
Elaine Chao

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Thursday became the first Cabinet member to resign in the wake of yesterday’s siege at the U.S. Capitol.

In a letter posted to Twitter, Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said, “Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed.

“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,” she said.

Chao is the latest in a growing number of administration officials who found Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters too egregious to remain even for the last 13 days of his administration.

Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger stepped down Thursday, as did Tyler Goodspeed, acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and Mick Mulvaney, the former acting chief of staff who most recently has been the administration’s special envoy to Northern Ireland.

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday morning, Mulvaney said he had called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the night before to tell him.

“I can’t stay here, not after yesterday,” Mulvaney said. “You can’t look at that yesterday and think ‘I want to be part of that’ in any way, shape or form.”

Similarly, Goodspeed told reporters Thursday morning that “the events of yesterday made my position no longer tenable.”

In her letter to the president, Chao said that she would leave her post on Jan. 11 and that her office would cooperate with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s nominee for transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg.

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