‘Deeply Troubled’ Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Resigns After Captiol Riot

Elaine Chao testifies before a Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on her nomination to be transportation secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced her resignation Thursday, saying she was “deeply troubled” by the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, our country experience a traumatic and and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” Chao said in a statement she posted on Twitter. “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.”

Chao said her last day would be Jan. 11, and suggested she’d use some of her final days to help President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for her job, Pete Buttigieg, “with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department.”

She is the first Cabinet member to resign in the aftermath of Wednesday’s riot, which was sparked by President Donald Trump urging thousands of his supporters to go to the Capitol and make their “voices heard” against lawmakers who were unsupportive of Trump’s call for objections during the electoral vote count.

Chao’s husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was the most prominent Republican to push back against the president’s plan.

Also announcing his resignation Thursday was Trump’s former acting chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney.

“I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I would be resigning from that. I just can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney said in an interview with CNBC, citing the Trump-inspired riot.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Rachel Elbaum and Dareh Gregorian

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