U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigns

Byron Hurd
·2-min read

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will resign Monday. The secretary announced her resignation in a letter to Transportation Department employees which she posted to her Twitter account, tweeting that the role was "the honor of a lifetime," but she "cannot set aside" the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Chao served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush from 1989 through 1991 and Labor Secretary under George W. Bush for both terms and replaced Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation when President Trump took office in 2017. She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has reportedly been actively campaigning for sitting cabinet members to stay in their posts through the end of the Trump administration in the wake of Wednesday's tumult in D.C. 

Chao was expected to spearhead massive transportation infrastructure improvements promised by the President in his 2016 campaign. On the campaign trail, Trump promised to double Hillary Clinton's $275 billion, five-year transportation spending plan. Despite wide support for infrastructure spending, those plans never came to fruition. 

The full text of her resignation letter follows. 

Dear Department of Transportation colleagues:


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.


I am tremendously proud of the many accomplishments we were able to achieve together for our country and I will never forget the commitment you have for this Department and the United States of America. I am hopeful that many of you will carry forward our vision to improve the lives of Americans through this Department and beyond.


Today, I am announcing my resignation as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, to take effect on Monday, January 11, 2020. We will help my announced successor Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department. With all good wishes to each one of you,