Elaine Chao becomes first Trump cabinet member to resign after Capitol siege: report

Elaine Chao becomes first Trump cabinet member to resign after Capitol siege: report

01/07/2021

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Thursday told colleagues she will resign over the mob of President Trump’s supporters that stormed the US Capitol a day earlier, according to reports.

Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would be the first cabinet secretary to resign over the incident, which delayed certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory until the wee hours of Thursday.

Chao cited the riot as her reason for resigning in an email to colleagues, the Washington Post reports. CNN also reported she will resign.

Her departure comes as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who will soon become majority leader, urged the Cabinet and Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before the official Jan. 20 handover.

Trump spoke to thousands of supporters at the White House on Wednesday, telling them the election was stolen from them and urging them to march on the Capitol, which they did.

Four people died and dozens were injured as Trump supporters smashed through doors and windows in the Capitol and battled police inside the Rotunda.

The violence did not prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win, which was made official early Thursday.

The Transportation Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition to Chao, past and current Trump Cabinet members, including recently departed Attorney General William Barr, expressed outrage at his role in the assault.

Acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf said he wanted Trump to denounce the mob and said it was unacceptable for officials to be “inciting” violence.

Many Trump White House officials quit their jobs after the Capitol break-in — two weeks earlier than the official handover on Jan. 20. The stream of defections began with first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, who is a Trump White House “original” serving since 2017. Grisham previously was White House press secretary.

Also quitting were spokeswoman Sarah Matthews and former acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who was Trump’s envoy to Northern Ireland, and Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger, known for being among the few White House aides to adopt mask-wearing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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