Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigns after unrest

Register now

Elaine Chao resigned from her post as the U.S. Transportation Secretary following unrest in Washington D.C.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned Wednesday.

Chao made that announcement Thursday afternoon in a tweet announcing her resignation to take effect on Jan. 11.

“Yesterday, 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. “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.”

President Donald Trump picked Chao for secretary in 2016. She is the first cabinet member to resign following Wednesday’s events in which Trump supporters stormed violently into the U.S Capitol, causing many lawmakers to go into hiding in the building and resulting in four deaths.

Chao was U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009. She did not have a strong background in municipal infrastructure. She did endorse private funding for infrastructure in 2019, but was unable to help get a robust infrastructure bill across the finish line during her time in D.C.

In December, President-Elect Joe Biden tapped South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, a move that elated many municipal stakeholders.

Sources said his experience as mayor from 2012 to January 2020 makes him uniquely positioned to know the importance of traditional infrastructure. Buttigieg still has to be confirmed by the Senate.

Chao is a stalwart in the Republican party and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

On Thursday she welcomed Buttigieg to the post.

“We will help my announced successor Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department,” Chao said. “With all good wishes to each one of you.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Transportation industry Washington DC