Trump Chooses Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
trump chooses elaine chao for transportation secretary

After much speculation, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Elaine Chao, former labor secretary and current spouse of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as his Secretary of Transportation.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy spilled the beans, The New York Times reports, stating that the Trump camp named Chao for the role on Tuesday afternoon.

While Chao’s establishment ties conflict heavily with Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders, she is also a well-qualified and well-connected choice. Chao could be a critical asset toward Trump’s plan to improve U.S. infrastructure. Trump sincerely seems to want the country’s bridges, roads, and airports repaired or replaced on a massive scale and Chao’s past labor position (and husband) place her in a very helpful position.

Prior to her labor role in the Bush administration, Chao worked for various departments within the federal government. She was White House fellow under President Ronald Reagan, and served as deputy transportation secretary for President George H. W. Bush.

“That says something,” Richard F. Hohlt, Republican consultant and friend of Chao, told The New York Times. “She knows how to work a bureaucracy, and she knows how to last.”

Chao has also worked for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Heritage Foundation, and is a regular commentator on Fox News. She also sits on the Fox Broadcasting Company’s board of directors. The same goes for Wells Fargo, which she is almost certain to come under scrutiny for if she decides to accept this position.

Corporate conflict and partisan issues aside, many seem to feel that Chao would at least be in a good position to lay some pavement. “I’m as optimistic as I’ve been in a long time about the potential she brings to finally get something done on infrastructure,” Ray LaHood told The Times. La Hood served as Transportation secretary under President Obama and also worked with Chao during her time as Labor secretary.

McClatchy reported that Trump and Chao had a meeting in Trump Tower last week where they “conversed about labor and transportation issues with a particular focus on America’s long-term infrastructure needs, and reducing or eliminating burdensome regulations,” according to the transition team.

Chao has yet to publicly address the meeting or respond to the forthcoming nomination.

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6 of 80 comments
  • Ckb Ckb on Nov 30, 2016

    Late to the party and commenting in no-read land but just in case someone is both bored AND informed, what the hell does this mean? “I’m as optimistic as I’ve been in a long time about the potential she brings to finally get something done on infrastructure,” Ray LaHood I'm guessing the reason LaHood couldn't get something done was republican obstructionism?

    • See 1 previous
    • OldManPants OldManPants on Dec 01, 2016

      @Lorenzo Meh... with enough HP we won't need bridges, just ramps. For the overland parts, tundra tires.

  • Kvndoom Kvndoom on Dec 01, 2016

    Anyone who needs a clear definition of "draining the swamp" should read the last two pages of Animal Farm.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Dec 07, 2016

      All Animals are Equal. Some animals are more equal than others! No sense splitting hares ;)

  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.
  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)