Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao announced her resignation Thursday, becoming the first Cabinet secretary to resign after Wednesday’s riots rather than serve out the final few days of President Donald Trump’s term.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Chao explained, “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.”
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation. https://t.co/rFxPsBoh6t
— Sec. Elaine Chao (@Sec. Elaine Chao)1610044561.0
Chao also stated that her resignation would take effect on Monday, Jan. 11, and that she would assist incoming nominee Pete Buttigieg (D) transition into the office.
“I am tremendously proud of the many accomplishments we were able to achieve together for our country,” Chao added, “and I will never forget the commitment you have for this Department and the United States of America.”
Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and previously served as secretary of labor in the George W. Bush administration. She was nominated to her current post by President Trump and was easily confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 31, 2017. She is one of a handful of Trump’s original Cabinet appointments who remained in office during the president’s first term.
According to former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who has served in multiple positions in the Trump administration, Chao’s resignation may be the first of many high-profile resignations in the wake of the chaos at Capitol Hill on Wednesday that left at last four protesters dead and brought the certification of the Electoral College vote to a temporary halt.
Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff and current special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland, resigned Wednesday evening.