Trump’s former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao explained why she resigned a day after the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, saying it was something she could not overlook.
A House Jan. 6 select committee played Chao’s previously recorded testimony during the ninth and possibly final hearing of the attack’s investigation on Thursday. Chao described the events that transpired at Capitol Hill that day as “shocking.”
“And at a particular point, the events were such that it was impossible for me to continue, given my personal values and my philosophy,” she added in her testimony. “I came as an immigrant to this country. I believe in this country. I believe in a peaceful transfer of power. I believe in democracy. And so I was – it was a decision that I made on my own.”
Chao, who is married to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), was one of the Trump administration officials who resigned following the Capitol riot. In a tweet on Jan. 7, 2021, Chao shared the resignation letter she sent to her colleagues, stating that they would help her successor, Pete Buttigieg, run the department.
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
Born in Taiwan, Chao immigrated to the U.S. in the third grade without any knowledge of English. She became a U.S. citizen at the age of 19 and went on to earn her master’s degree from Harvard Business School. She is also the recipient of 37 honorary degrees.
Chao and McConnell became targets of Trump’s online rants multiple times more than a year after her resignation. Most recently, the former president called her “Coco Chow.” Several politicians condemned Trump’s words against Chao, including Marc Short, a senior adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, who said that he thought Trump “had taken to drinking at that point” when he posted on social media platform Truth Social.
“It’s important to remember that Elaine Chao and her family have been strong crusaders against communist China their whole lives,” Short told CBS News’ “Red and Blue.”
“She’s devoted herself to that. She’s spent time outside of government working at Heritage Foundation, fighting the cause for freedom. She, her family, is actually from Taiwan. I think that that certainly was a misplaced and erroneous tweet, to say the least.”
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