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Elaine Chao Resigns as Transportation Secretary over Trump’s Handling of Capitol Riots

Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao speaks during a press conference in Washington, D.C., September 19, 2019. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning from the Trump administration following pro-Trump riots at the Capitol on Wednesday, according to reports.

“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 a letter to her 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.”

Following a rally outside the White House where President Trump repeated his claim that November’s election was rife with voter fraud and said he was entitled to a second term, a large group of Trump supporters headed to the Capitol where they eventually overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. The Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results, was evacuated.

Several other high-ranking officials have tendered their resignations in the 24 hours since chaos descended on Washington, including former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who was serving as U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary to first lady Melania Trump, and White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell are also reportedly considering resigning.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation,” Chao wrote Thursday in a tweet.

Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rebuked Trump on Wednesday from the Senate floor, during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, saying that Congress overturning the election results at Trump’s urging would cause irreparable damage to the country.

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