US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned on Thursday, joining a list of officials quitting President Donald Trump’s administration in protest at the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters.
Chao, the wife of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said in an email to staff that the mob attack “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.” She said her resignation will take effect on Monday.
In a letter to Trump, DeVos said the attack on the Capitol was unconscionable. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote, adding her resignation would be effective Friday.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on DeVos’s resignation.
With less than two weeks left of Trump’s presidency, many aides were already heading for the door, but the sudden exodus suggested revulsion among some over his encouragement of supporters who brought chaos to the Capitol on Wednesday in an ultimately futile bid to prevent formal certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, a leading aide on Trump’s China policy, quit abruptly on Wednesday, said a senior administration official.
He was followed by Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, said a second senior official.
The Republican Trump’s pledge on Thursday of an “orderly transition” on Jan. 20 was partly intended to head off further resignations, but the second official told Reuters: “It’s not going to stop it.”
The images at the Capitol filled television screens worldwide, forever marking Trump’s presidency.
Also, four more senior advisers in the White House National Security Council have resigned following the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, according to a senior administration official and a person familiar with the matter.
The sources told Reuters that the officials who stepped down on Thursday, in a growing exodus of Trump aides, were: Erin Walsh, senior director for African affairs; Mark Vandroff, senior director for defense policy; Anthony Rugierro, senior director for weapons of mass destruction; and Rob Greenway, senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs.