USDOT Secretary Abruptly Resigns Citing “Traumatic Event” at U.S. Capitol
Washington D.C. – Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), Elaine Chao, has abruptly resigned her post citing yesterday’s “traumatic and entirely avoidable event” at the U.S. Capitol.
Secretary Chao resigned on Thursday morning and notified USDOT employees via email.
“Our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” she 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 simply cannot 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
She continued, “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.”
Chao indicated her resignation will be effective as of Monday, January 11.
Chao is the first Trump Administration cabinet secretary to resign and comes just 13 days before Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next president of the U.S. on January 20.
Most notably during her tenure, the USDOT pushed through hours of service (HOS) reform last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, many truckers expressed frustration with Chao’s leadership especially as she was largely silent on the increasing attacks on professional truckers in the wake of the George Floyd riots.
Similarly, Chao never commented on the historic three-week protest in Washington D.C. while more than one hundred truckers sought relief from plummeting freight rates.
During that same time, President Trump signed an Executive Order giving broad authority to each Department head to slash regulations that could impede economic recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
He famously directed specific comments to Secretary Chao.
“Elaine, you can do things that nobody would believe in your Department, the Department of Transportation,” Mr. Trump said.
However, in June, Jim Mullen, former Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) pushed back on President Trump’s order.
“I would caution people from thinking that there’s going to be any major wholesale changes,” Mullen stated during a virtual conference.
Chao also notably came under intense scrutiny during her time as the head of the USDOT for her family’s business ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In her statement on Thursday, Chao pledged to assist the incoming Biden Administration.
“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,” she said.