Elaine Chao Selected as Donald Trump's Transportation Secretary

Elaine Chao, who served under presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, is expected to be Donald Trump's Transportation Secretary.

Donald Trump is assembling an interesting crew to join him in the White House. He chose the infamous Steve Bannon to be his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. His Secretary of Housing and Urban Development will be Ben Carson, who has no government experience and who previously said he was unqualified for a Cabinet position. His United Nations Ambassador is Gov. Nikki Haley, who has no foreign policy experience. Still, some of his picks are more conventional. His Chief of Staff is Reince Priebus, who is the Republican National Committee's longest-serving chairman. Now, Trump has announced another more traditional pick: Elaine Chao will be his Transportation Secretary.

Unlike many of Trump's picks, Chao has extensive experience. According to the Wall Street Journal, 63-year-old Chao was the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to the cabinet when she became President George W. Bush's Secretary of Labor back in 2001. She was the only cabinet member to serve all eight years of Bush' presidency. Under President George H.W. Bush, Chao served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation. 

Chao is also married to Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky, who calls Chao an "outstanding choice" for the position.

McConnell calls Elaine Chao, to whom he is married, an "outstanding choice" for transportation secretary. Says he won't recuse himself.

— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) November 29, 2016

Chao will likely oversee Trump's massive $1 trillion proposal to rebuild roads, bridges, and other infrastructure (though it's unclear what specifically, if anything, is planned).

The Harvard Business School grad has also worked as a banker with Citigroup, was the president and CEO of the United Way of America, and director of the Peace Corps, according to the Washington Post. She's been a distinguished fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a prominent conservative think tank, and has also been a contributor on Fox News. She's served on the boards of several corporations and non-profit organizations, including Wells Fargo, Dole Food Co., the National World War II Museum, and News Corp. 

Of course, Chao's elite experience has some wondering about Trump's "drain the swamp" claims:

I can't resist it but non only is Elaine Chao a swamp-dweller, as many have said, but she’s married to the turtle who rules the swamp.

— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) November 29, 2016

Elaine Chao's family runs a giant shipping empire. Totally no conflicts of interest if she's going to be Secretary of Transportation.

— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) November 29, 2016

Trump's draining of the swamp includes appointing Elaine Chao, who sits on the Wells Fargo board. What did she know abt its fake accounts?

— Jesse Eisinger (@eisingerj) November 29, 2016

Though we disagree on many issues, I'm sure, I've worked with @ElaineChao on the board of the @HarvardIOP & respect her greatly.

— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 29, 2016

With that said, even some of Trump's prominent critics have praised Chao's selection:

Trump's recent appointments less scary than at the start. Can disagree w/Elaine Chao on policy, but one of most gracious ppl I know in DC.

— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) November 29, 2016

My friend @ElaineChao is an excellent pick for Secretary of Transportation. I look forward to working with her on our infrastructure needs

— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 29, 2016

Elaine Chao will, amazingly, be the SECOND person to have been Sec of Labor, Sec of Transportation and married to Senate majority leader

— Alex Burns (@alexanderburns) November 29, 2016

Perhaps surprisingly, Elaine Chao isn't the first person to have been Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Transportation, and the wife of a Senate majority leader—Elizabeth Dole, wife of Bob Dole, did the same.

Earlier today, Trump announced his pick for the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who has long opposed Obamacare and has supported overhauling the country's entitlement programs. 

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