US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Thursday she would resign, citing the intrusion of the US Capitol by violent supporters of US President Donald Trump.
Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is the first Cabinet secretary to announce her departure after the events. Many lower-level administration officials have announced they would resign, including several White House aides.
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Chao said her resignation would take effect Monday, just nine days before Trump is set to leave office. She said the Capitol attack “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Chao, a former Labor secretary and deputy transportation secretary under prior Republican presidents, has led the department for four years and said “we will help my announced successor Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department.”
In a December 31 Reuters interview, Chao had said she planned to remain on the job through January 20 when Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is due to take office.
One government official said there may be additional cabinet resignations before Monday.