Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao became the first cabinet secretary to resign over concerns of President Donald Trump’s role in the siege at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
“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 cannot set aside.”
Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She said that her resignation would be effective on Monday, nine days before Joe Biden’s swearing in as president.
Chao follows other members of the administration to resign out of concerns over Trump’s role in fomenting the protests and his response afterward. Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, stepped down on Wednesday, and Mick Mulvaney, special envoy to Northern Ireland, resigned on Thursday morning. Mulvaney previously served as Trump’s acting chief of staff.
Chao’s departure had been rumored on Wednesday evening, as there were rumblings that Trump was facing a wave of resignations over the Capitol siege.
Some Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have been calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, a process for removal of the president.
In her statement, Chao said that they “will help my announced successor Mayor Pete Buttigieg with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department.”
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