Donald Trump has chosen Elaine Chao to serve as transportation secretary in his administration, according to Politico. Chao was secretary of labor under George W. Bush and is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. An official announcement is expected shortly.
Chao has a long resume in federal government under Republican presidents. She served as deputy secretary of transportation under George H. W. Bush, rising through the agency from a post in maritime administration.
Chao’s family owns an international shipping empire, and her father is singlehandedly responsible for making McConnell one of the richest men in the Senate, according to the Nation.
While Chao has more experience in government and a less extreme ideological background than other Cabinet picks, she has been on the Trump team for a while, serving on the campaign’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council, according to Politico.
Chao is no environmentalist, having resigned from the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies as a result of its “Beyond Coal” campaign. Her involvement with the foundation reportedly became an issue in McConnell’s reelection campaign in Kentucky. She’ll now be operating for a White House that denies the science of climate change. Federal efforts to coordinate transportation and land use policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may not survive in the Trump DOT, but that would have been the case no matter who landed the transportation secretary job.