Leader of Largest Trucking Group Speaks Out On USDOT Secretary’s Abrupt Resignation
Alexandria, VA – The leader of trucking’s largest trade association is applauding Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s abrupt resignation.
On Thursday morning, Secretary Elaine Chao announced her resignation from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) citing yesterday’s “traumatic” event at the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement, Chao pointed the blame squarely at President Donald Trump calling the situation “entirely avoidable.”
Her resignation becomes official as of Monday, January 11, just nine days before Joe Biden will be sworn into office.
In response to Sec. Chao’s resignation, Chris Spear, CEO of the American Trucking Associations, applauded the move.
“I can attest that Elaine is a person of strong moral character, and should be applauded for not standing idly by following yesterday’s abhorrent and shameful events at the Capitol,” Spear stated. “This is the kind of principled stand in support of our democracy I’ve always known her to take.”
Spear also praised Sec. Chao for her work during the last four years.
“From the Department’s efforts to improve safety while providing flexibility for commercial drivers, drawing a roadmap for future transportation leaders to follow on automated vehicles, and recognizing the unique role drivers play in our industry, she should be commended for her vision,” he said. “Her leadership throughout the COVID pandemic, ensuring that trucks and truck drivers could continue doing their essential work — despite the many barriers set in front of them — was exemplary and an example of her commitment to this country.”
Spear’s swift and unequivocal condemnation of the events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday is notable given the fact he, like Sec. Chao and most other major trucking trade groups, remained largely silent as truckers and big rigs fell under attack last year during the George Floyd riots.
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Amid heightened social tensions in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, protestors in states across the country blocked and shut down major interstates and highways, burned and looted stores, as well as carried out multiple attacks on commercial tractor-trailers.
In a lawsuit filed by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) seeking to have the court order Sec. Chao to enforce federal law designed to protect truckers engaged in interstate commerce, the USDOT argued the Department had no such duty to act but rather could exercise its “discretion.”
In an explosive ruling, the judge agreed with Sec. Chao and the USDOT.
However, in the wake of the ruling many truckers called for Chao’s resignation.
Spear though, today expressed a much different view of Chao’s leadership and got a jump start on building goodwill with Biden’s nominee to lead the USDOT.
“Secretary Chao has been a strong leader and a tremendous partner on a host of issues impacting the trucking industry,” he proclaimed. “We look forward to working with President-elect Biden’s Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg as he begins his transition to lead the Department.”