Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is sworn in by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) as her father, Dr. James S.C. Chao, founder of Foremost Group, holds a bible during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Resigns in Response to Capitol Mob

Mike Schuler
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January 7, 2021

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, has announced her resignation following the events at the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

In doing so, she becomes the first Trump Administration cabinet-level member to resign in response to yesterday’s mob. She announced her resignation in a Twitter post and memo to DOT colleagues.

“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supports 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 wrote.

Her resignation is effective Monday, January 11, 2021.

The memo included a nod to a peaceful transition to Pete Buttigieg, who President-elect Joe Biden has named as his nominee to lead the Department.

Elaine Chao is wife of Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell, who yesterday rejected Trump’s attempts to the overturn the results of the presidential election right before a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. Her father, James S.C. Chao, is founder and Honorary Chairman of Foremost Group, a U.S.-based shipping company with operations Asia, a connection that was scrutinized during her tenure. Her sister Angela Chao is currently the Group’s Chairperson and CEO.

Elaine Chao was sworn in as Secretary of the Department of Transportation on January 31, 2017 shortly after President Trump was sworn in. Chao previously served as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2001 to January 2009 and has held positions including Deputy Maritime Administrator; Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission; and, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation presides over the Maritime Administration (MARAD), the agency responsible for America’s waterborne transportation system including things like ships and shipping, port and vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety.

Her parting message to colleagues is below:

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