Deeply experienced as a banker and public servant and married to a prominent senator of the same party, Elaine Chao seems more qualified than many of Trump’s recent appointments.
These four facts about the life of Elaine Chao will show that she left a trail of notable accomplishments and accumulated harsh critics on her way to attaining power in the White House.
Chao Is A Wealthy Immigrant From Taiwan
Elaine Chao exemplifies the story of an immigrant who arrived and thrived in this country.
Chao was not poor; her father was owner of a successful shipping company. This luxury afforded her certain benefits, like attendance at a private school, and eventually Harvard University where she earned an MBA. Throughout her academic career, she remained active in various clubs and sports, including horseback riding, yearbook staff, and the economics department.
For Chao, the opportunity for political power in Washington came from her remarkable success as a banker.
She Earned A Fellowship To The White House In 1983
Elaine Chao attained notable success as a banker at both Bank of America and Citibank. When a government program scouted the best employees from her bank, Chao was on board, and accepted a Fellowship to the White House in 1983.
In 1986, Chao was appointed to her first government office as Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration. The Maritime Administration is part of the Department of Transportation, a department she was asked to head by President-elect Trump 30 years later in 2016.
Chao Served As Secretary of Labor Under George W. Bush
From 2001-2009, Elaine Chao served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush, and was the only official to remain during his entire term.
Her major criticism while serving as Secretary of Labor came in the form of two deadly mining accidents. She was blamed for cutting over 200 safety inspections, inspections that could have improved conditions in the hazardous mines. Twelve miners and three rescue workers were ultimately killed as a result of poor conditions at the mine during Chao’s term as Secretary of Labor. The mining disasters continue to be the primary criticism of Chao’s record.
She’s Married To Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell
The very definition of a Republican power couple, soon-to-be head of the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao, is married to House Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell.
With Chao being the first Asian-American to be appointed to a cabinet post, and McConnell as the highest ranking Republican Senator, the two may be the most influential Republican husband and wife team in the country. This is especially true since Chao has been known to campaign vigorously for her husband during his re-elections, proving crucial in defending accusations that he’s anti-woman.
Elaine Chao has amassed bitter critics and undeniable accomplishments over her years in government. Her record of cutting programs and aggressively trimming costs are traits that we are likely to see continuing during her term as Secretary of Transportation.
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