Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao chastised former President Donald Trump for his racist rants against her and other anti-Asian rhetoric.
Trump, who is ramping up his presidential campaign in 2024, has made racist remarks about Chao, who served in his administration, in recent months. Trump’s attacks frequently include jabs at her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has enraged Trump since publicly condemning Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
Trump attempted to imply in a Truth Social post on Monday that Chao had a connection to the classified documents discovered recently in President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and an office in Washington.
“Does Coco Chow have anything to do with Joe Biden’s classified documents being sent and stored in Chinatown?” Trump wrote. “Her husband, the Old Broken Crow, is very close to Biden, the Democrats, and, of course, China.”
Chao, who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan as a child, spoke out against Trump’s attacks in a statement shared with NBC News and first reported by Politico.
“When I was younger, some people purposefully misspelt or mispronounced my name. “Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation,” Chao said. “He doesn’t seem to understand that, which says a lot more about him than it ever will about Asian Americans.”
Chao had avoided responding to Trump’s attacks. In response to a Truth Social post last month in which Trump used a racial slur against her, Chao told CNN that “it would be very helpful if the media did not just repeat that racist tweet.”
Chao made the statement in the aftermath of several high-profile shootings targeting Asian Americans. Trump has also stepped up his anti-Asian rhetoric as he launches his presidential campaign in 2024. Other Republicans, such as Florida Sen. Rick Scott, have refrained from condemning Trump’s attacks, attributing them to his penchant for using nicknames.
Chao became the first Asian American woman to serve in a presidential Cabinet when she was appointed labour secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration. She later served as Transportation Secretary in the Trump administration.