United States Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao has resigned from her position, a White House official told CNN.
She’s the first cabinet member to leave, following President Donald Trump’s response to a mob of his supporters breaching the US Capitol.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation,” she tweeted on Thursday.
In a statement to the agency she led, Chao wrote that she will resign on Monday and was “deeply troubled” by the events at the Capitol building.
“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,” Chao said.
She added: “That will help the Transportation Secretary designate, Pete Buttigieg, in taking on the department.”
A veteran of Republican administrations and the wife of the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, Chao came into her post with a focus on reviving the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
But an overhaul package to rebuild roads, bridges and highways never came, stalled by other legislative priorities including tax cuts and health care. The administration did unveil a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan earlier in Trump’s administration, but the framework has faced obstacles in Congress.
A succession of White House-sponsored “Infrastructure Weeks” did little to advance the cause. The term has become a punch line for the administration’s ability to step on its own message with unforced errors or a President prone to inflammatory tweets or remarks.
Chao had until now remained a dutiful foot soldier for Trump , appearing at White House events and travelling the country to view administration-sponsored projects.
Unlike much of the administration, Chao came to her post with years of government experience. She served in both Bush administrations, acting as Labour Secretary for all eight years of President George W. Bush’s tenure.