Chao also served as deputy secretary of transportation under George H.W. Bush. She is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Chao was the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet-level position.
According to Politico, Chao met last week with the President-elect at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he is working with his transition team to iron out senior appointments.
Her selection is notable given the less-than-cozy relationship between McConnell and Trump during the campaign. Though he endorsed him after the primaries, Senate Majority Leader spent the summer either rebuking Trump or stonewalling reporters who asked him for comment on Trump’s various controversies.
After leaving the Bush administration, Chao returned to a previously held role as a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation. She is a regular contributor to Fox News, and serves as a director on the boards of Wells Fargo, News Corp., and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics, among others.
During the 2016 campaign, she served as a member of Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council.