With 12 days to go before the Trump administration rides off into the sunset, a slew of Cabinet officials quit during the last 24 hours. Led by Special Envoy Mick Mulvaney, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, officials handed in their notices in the aftermath of the Capitol rioting that happened January 6.
Mulvaney, Devos, Other Cabinet Officials Quit
Mick Mulvaney, special envoy to Northern Ireland and the earliest to resign, said he anticipated more resignations. He said “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.”
Cabinet Officials Quit
Here are the officials who have already submitted their resignations as of 5 am January 8:
Mick Mulvaney, the special envoy to Northern Ireland and former acting chief of staff, resigned Wednesday night. He said he “can’t stay” after seeing the president encourage the mob that overtook the Capitol complex. Mulvaney called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday night and told him: “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”
Earlier, Mulvaney joined other White House officials in defending Vice President Mike Pence. Before the riots, Trump called out the Vice President for refusing to help him by objecting to the certification of Electoral College votes from some states. During the riots, Mulvaney tweeted that “The President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home.
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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos,filed her letter of resignation to President Trump a day after the riots, indicating she will step down on Friday. DeVos wrote in her letter that “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.” She labeled the group of protesters that stormed Congress the day before as “unconscionable for our country.”
DeVos joins Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to resign after violent protesters overwhelmed the police and stormed through the Capitol. Her confirmation as education secretary came through in February 2017 via a tie breaking Senate vote via Vice President Mike Pence.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, earlier announced her resignation on Twitter on Thursday. She wrote that the incident at the Capitol, “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.” She will stay at her position until Monday. Incidentally, Chao is the wife of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican Senate majority leader.
Matthew Pottinger worked as deputy national security adviser beginning 2019. Formerly the Asia director on the National Security Council, he provided on-the-ground advice for Trump during his meetings with President Xi Jinping in 2017. Pottinger also sent in his notice on Thursday.
John Costello is a senior cybersecurity official who handed his resignation Wednesday. Associates said that Costello felt the Capitol Hill riots were his “breaking point” and “a wake up call.”
Tyler Goodspeed is the acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He submitted his resignation Thursday, and cited Trump’s encouragement as his reason to leave. Also, he said that “The events of yesterday made my position no longer tenable,” after informing White House chief of staff Mark Meadows of his decision.
Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump and former White House press secretary, quit Wednesday after viewing the reports on the Capitol Hill riots. Graham served as one of the longest-serving Trump aides.
Social Secretary for the First Lady, Rickie Niceta is a former Washington event planner. Niceta told her boss her plans to leave.
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews submitted her resignation on Wednesday. She also said in a statement that she felt “deeply disturbed by what I saw today.”
Also on Thursday, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell, acting on orders, asked staffers to submit a letter of resignation no later than noon on Jan. 20. All political appointees traditionally hand over their courtesy resignations prior to the assumption of the President-in-waiting. He wrote that “As we prepare for a transition of power, we must take appropriate measures to ensure this is done in an orderly manner.” The letter reached Cabinet and executive agency heads, who will forward these to all political appointees under their agency. In addition, the letter included draft resignation templates that staffers can use to fill out and send.
Noticeably, the request by the Trump White House to make Cabinet officials quit and resign came late, with only a few days remaining before the transition to a new President. Previously, former administrations usually ask appointees and Cabinet officials to quit as early as October. While not required by law, appointees usually submit resignations early as part of standard practice.
Watch the Bloomberg Politics news item reporting that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is the latest Trump Cabinet official to resign after the infamous Capitol riots.
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