Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced her resignation from President Donald Trump’s administration Thursday, saying Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol “deeply troubled” her.
Chao called the events at the Capitol “entirely avoidable,” and linked the chaos to Trump’s rally earlier Wednesday. Chao is the fifth administration official and first Cabinet member to resign since Wednesday.
“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 statement. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I cannot simply set aside.”
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation. pic.twitter.com/rFxPsBoh6t
— Sec. Elaine Chao (@SecElaineChao) January 7, 2021
Former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigned Thursday his new post as an envoy to Northern Ireland.
WH resignations growing. They include:
-Stephanie Grisham, First Lady’s chief of staff
-Rickie Niceta, WH Social Secretary
-Sara Matthews, WH Deputy Press Secretary
Others reportedly considering resigning:
-Robert O’Brien, National Security Adviser
-Matt Pottinger, deputy NSA
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) January 7, 2021
Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reportedly told associates Wednesday night that she did not plan to resign, but has now reconsidered.
woah. people close to her yesterday were briefing that she wasn’t leaning in that direction https://t.co/4w0CNH6cqM
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) January 7, 2021
She told people yesterday she wasn’t. https://t.co/zTAoRDu2IE
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 7, 2021
Democrats and some Republicans have accused Trump of directly inciting the mob to storm the Capitol. He told the crowd at his rally earlier that day that he would “be there with you” as they marched on the Capitol. (RELATED: Rudy Giuliani Says America Needs ‘Trial By Combat’ To Decide Election)
Trump egged on the rally crowd that eventually turned into a mob throughout his speech, describing alleged dumps of Biden votes on Election Day as “explosions of bullshit.”
TRUMP: “Explosions of BULSHIT” is how Trump described the counting of votes. Crowd chants “bull-shit!” pic.twitter.com/CaRvKXeyKN
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) January 6, 2021
Democrats are already drafting articles of impeachment and have called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.