Chao letter to Trump cites Wednesday’s ‘events at the US Capitol’ as reason for resignation

Greg Nash

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, in her official resignation letter to President Trump, cited the Capitol riots as her reason for leaving the administration just under two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

“I had planned on serving through the end of your term in office. But after yesterday’s events at the U.S. Capitol, I will resign as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, effective Monday, January 11, 2021 to provide a short period of transition,” she wrote to Trump.

Chao sent a letter to agency staff earlier on Thursday announcing her resignation, making her the first Cabinet member to resign in the wake of Wednesday’s pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned later on Thursday.

“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 wrote in Thursday’s letter to Transportation Department staff. “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.”

In her two-page resignation letter to Trump, which included just one sentence about the Capitol riots, she thanked the president for the opportunity to serve as Transportation secretary and highlighted the department’s accomplishments over the last four years.

In a nearly three-minute farewell video to the Transportation Department staff, wishing them good luck as they “train another whole new team” during the transition, Chao made no mention of the deadly riots at the Capitol.

Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has served as Transportation secretary for the entirety of Trump’s presidency. She previously served as Labor secretary for eight years under former President George W. Bush.

Tags Betsy DeVos Cabinet member Capitol breach Donald Trump Elaine Chao Joe Biden Mitch McConnell resignation

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