President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Bush administration official Elaine Chao as his transportation secretary, a position that will take on outsized importance with Trump’s plan to spend billions rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, a person with knowledge of the decision said Tuesday.
Chao, a former labor secretary and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would oversee the massive program Trump is planning to rebuild bridges, roads and other infrastructure. Trump’s campaign has said he wants to spend up to $1 trillion, though the specifics are unclear, as is whether congressional Republicans would support the initiative.
Chao served as labor secretary during President George W. Bush’s entire eight-year administration and was the first Asian American Cabinet member in U.S. history. If confirmed by the Senate, she would add diversity to a Trump inner circle initially criticized as consisting of mostly older white men.
Transition team officials would not comment on Chao, though senior Trump communications adviser Jason Miller told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that Trump’s transportation secretary nominee would come later in the day. The news of Chao’s nomination was first reported by Politico.