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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is resigning in the wake of the invasion of the Capitol building by "March for Trump" protesters, which was egged on by President Trump.

Why it matters: Chao is the first Cabinet secretary to resign and is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The state of play: Chao plans to email her colleagues at the Department of Transportation to explain her reasoning, the source added. "It's specifically yesterday," a source told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Draft of letter:

Dear Department of Transportation colleagues: 
Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed. As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.
I am tremendously proud of the many accomplishments we were able to achieve together for our country and I will never forget the commitment you have for this Department and the United States of America. I am hopeful that many of you will carry forward our vision to improve the lives of Americans through this Department and beyond.
Today, I am announcing my resignation as U. S. Secretary of Transportation, to take effect on Monday, January 11, 2020. We will help my announced successor Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department. With all good wishes to each one of you,
Sincerely,
Elaine

The big picture: With just 13 days left in President Trump's term, he has become increasingly isolated and hard to reach. Some of his close confidantes and most loyal aides have chosen to resign rather than defend his rhetoric.

Other resignations:

  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who accused Trump of contributing to the assault on the Capitol.
  • Melania Trump's chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, who previously served as White House press secretary.
  • Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, who said she was "deeply disturbed" by Wednesday's events and called for a peaceful transition of power.
  • Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger.
  • Deputy assistant secretary of commerce for intelligence and security Rick Costello, who said the "unprecedented attack" was "incited" by Trump.
  • Social secretary Rickie Niceta.
  • Special envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney, who previously served as White House chief of staff, told CNBC: "I can’t do it. I can’t stay."
  • Acting chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Tyler Goodspeed told the New York Times: "The events of yesterday made my position no longer tenable."
  • Senior director for defense policy at the National Security Council Mark Vandroff tendered his resignation Thursday, per Defense News.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Go deeper

Jan 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Read: Pete Buttigieg's opening statement ahead of confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to be secretary of transportation, in December. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to lead the Transportation Department, will tell senators he plans to prioritize the health and safety of public transportation systems during the pandemic — and look to infrastructure projects to rebuild the economy — according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Buttigieg will testify at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is expected to face a relatively smooth confirmation process, though GOP lawmakers may press him on "green" elements of Biden's transportation proposals.

Updated Jan 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Hearings for President Biden's Cabinet nominations to lead the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Energy, and Veterans' Affairs started Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for new and incoming presidents.

Jan 21, 2021 - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."