Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigning, says she ‘cannot set aside’ Capitol insurrection

Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, said the violent attack on the Capitol 'has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside'

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning effective Monday, becoming the highest ranking member of President Donald Trump’s administration to resign in protest after the pro-Trump insurrection at Capitol.

In a statement Thursday, Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, said the violent attack on the Capitol “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

Read More: Republican lawmaker livestreamed himself storming Capitol

She said her department will continue to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s designated nominee to head the department, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

A few moments before Chao’s announcement, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is vowed to fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao makes a policy announcement at EPA headquarters September 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Stenger is in charge of the chamber’s security.

Schumer said, “I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate.” The New York Democrat will become the majority leader after Georgia Sens.-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are sworn in.

Top Republican and outgoing Majority Leader McConnell agrees that there was a “massive failure” by police and other officials that allowed a violent breach at the Capitol Wednesday.

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McConnell says a “painstaking investigation and thorough review must now take place and significant changes must follow.”

He says the “ultimate blame” lies with the criminals who broke into the Capitol and the people who incited them. But he said that “does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”

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