WASHINGTON - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned Thursday, a day after a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, saying President Donald Trump’s "rhetoric" was the "inflection point."
DeVos blamed President Donald Trump for inflaming tensions in the violent assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy. She says, "There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me."
Earlier on Thursday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced her resignation on Thursday, becoming the first Cabinet secretary to leave following the mob of Trump’s supporters that violently attacked the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement, Chao called Wednesday’s events "traumatic and entirely avoidable" and said her resignation will take effect Jan. 11.
"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," Chao said, who is also the wife of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation."
Earlier Thursday, Trump’s former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigned his post as special envoy to Northern Ireland, saying "I can’t do it. I can’t stay."
Mulvaney and Chao joined a growing list of Trump administration officials who are leaving following the violent riot at the Capitol on Wednesday, which also includes Stephanie Grisham, first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, and White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews.
The riot occurred after Trump addressed a massive rally in Washington fueled by the president’s repeated allegations that he lost the November election because of election fraud, which is not substantiated. A mob breached the Capitol building just as lawmakers were working to certify Electoral College votes in the election, sealing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Mulvaney said he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday night to tell him that he was resigning. He served as acting White House chief of staff from January 2019 until March 2020. Before that, he was director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Mick Mulvaney joined a growing list of Trump administration officials who are leaving following the violent riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
"I can’t do it. I can’t stay," Mulvaney told CNBC, which was first to report the resignation. "Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in."