On Tuesday, Politico reported that President-elect Donald Trump would nominate Elaine Chao to be transportation secretary. Trump has not officially announced Chao as his nominee, but Politico reported that multiple sources had confirmed that Chao, who served on Trump's advisory team, was his pick. Trump is expected to officially announce Chao as his nominee on Tuesday afternoon, according to CNN.
Having served George W. Bush's administration as secretary of labor and George H.W. Bush's administration as deputy secretary of transportation, Chao is the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet-level position. Chao is also married to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. She has often campaigned with him in his home state of Kentucky, and Time's Jay Newton-Small wrote an article about Chao that described her "Mitch McConnell's Secret Weapon." In the 2014 article, Newton-Small noted that in the previous two years, "Chao headlined fifty of her own events and attended hundreds more with and on behalf of McConnell."
Multiple times Chao has been the object of racist jabs during McConnell's campaign. During the 1996 Kentucky senate race, Democrat Steve Beshear dismissed McConnell, saying "It’s time to elect an All-American family to represent Kentucky,” which many saw as a racist jab at Chao.
Last week, Chao met with the president-elect at Trump Tower. The press release from the presidential transition team stated that Chao and Trump "conversed about labor and transportation issues with a particular focus on America’s long-term infrastructure needs, and reducing or eliminating burdensome regulations."
According to her biography, Chao arrived in the United States at the age of eight after her family left Taiwan, fearing the communist revolution in mainland China. She graduated with a degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. Her biography also notes that "She is the longest tenured Secretary of Labor since World War II, and the only member of President Bush’s original cabinet to have served the entire eight years of his Administration."