WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced today (Jan. 7) that she is resigning from her post as the head of the nation’s Department of Transportation effective Monday, Jan. 11.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Chao cited yesterday’s incident at the U.S. Capitol, where pro-Trump protestors stormed the building, as her reason for the resignation.
“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,” the statement read.
The statement continued, stating that the department will help the announced successor, Pete Buttigieg, “with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department.”
Chao is one of the Cabinet members who has served the entire four years of the Trump administration. She is in her second stint as a member of a presidential Cabinet, having served as Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, and was the only member of the Cabinet to serve for the entirety of Bush’s term. She was the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to a presidential Cabinet in American history.
Chao is the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration yet to resign following the violence at the Capitol. Other members of the administration who have resigned since the incident at the capitol include Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump; Sarah Matthews, a deputy press secretary; and Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation. pic.twitter.com/rFxPsBoh6t
— Sec. Elaine Chao (@SecElaineChao) January 7, 2021