Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao spoke out against former President Donald Trump in the wake of him repeatedly making racist comments about her.
Trump has previously called Chao, who is married to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., racist names Trump on Truth Social this week again targeted Chao and McConnell, attempting to link them to classified documents found in a Washington, D.C. office space that has been used by President Joe Biden.
“When I was young, some people deliberately misspelled or mispronounced my name,” Chao said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation. He doesn’t seem to understand that, which says a whole lot more about him than it will ever say about Asian Americans.”
Politico first reported Chao’s statement.
Chao served as Transportation Secretary during Trump’s administration. She was the first Cabinet secretary to resign following the Capitol riot, in which a group of pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol Building in an effort to derail Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election.
“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” Chao said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump, said in a statement to USA TODAY “People should stop feigning outrage and engaging in controversies that exist only in their heads.”
Chao last month in an interview with CNN addressed Trump’s comments, calling them a “racist taunt.”
“He’s trying to get a rise out of us. He says all sorts of outrageous things, and I don’t make a point of answering any one of them,” she said.