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Transportation Secretary Chao resigns in wake of riot

Elaine Chao
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced yesterday in a tweet addressed to U.S. Department of Transportation colleagues that she would resign her office effective Jan. 11. 

One of the longest-serving members of President Donald Trump's cabinet, Chao cited Wednesday's deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol in her resignation announcement.

"Our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed," Chao tweeted. "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 she is "tremendously proud" of what the U.S. Department of Transportation accomplished during her tenure. She pledged the department's help as Pete Buttigieg prepares to take over as transportation secretary under President-elect Joe Biden's administration.

Chao's service as transportation secretary is her second presidential cabinet position. She served as labor secretary from 2001 to January 2009 under President George W. Bush's administration.

She is the first of two Trump cabinet members to resign in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also submitted her resignation.

The violence at the Capitol unfolded as Congress was beginning proceedings to affirm President-elect Biden's Electoral College victory in the 2020 presidential election. After attending a nearby pro-Trump rally, a mob of the president's supporters marched to the U.S. Capitol and smashed their way inside the building, forcing lawmakers, congressional staffers and others to hide or evacuate for their safety.

Five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the melee.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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