Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao is set to be announced later Tuesday as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Transportation, multiple sources familiar with the decision confirmed Tuesday morning.
Chao ran the Labor Department under the George W. Bush administration. She met with the president-elect at Trump Tower last week to discuss labor and transportation policy, according to Trump’s transition team.
Top Senate Democrats signaled that Chao may not face much of a fight to get confirmed, with incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) congratulating her on being nominated and praising her for her “long history of service to our country.”
“Senate Democrats have said that if President-elect Trump is serious about a major infrastructure bill, backed by real dollars and not just tax credits and without cutting other programs like health care and education, that we are ready to work with his administration,” Schumer said. “I hope Secretary Chao shares that ambitious goal and is willing to work with Democrats to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of good paying jobs along the way.”
The wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Chao is the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet-level position. She also served as deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush. Chao was also a member of Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council during the campaign.
When she came before the Senate in 2001 as the Labor secretary-designate for George W. Bush, Chao was quickly approved on a voice vote.