A string of President Donald Trump’s administration officials are resigning after a mob of his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in a bloody episode that left at least four people dead on Wednesday.
The resignations arrive just two weeks before a president that many of the exiting officials have willfully supported for years through a series of attacks on the bedrock of the nation’s institutions leaves office.
President Trump’s untethered effort to torch democracy came to a fever pitch as he incited his followers during a “Save America” rally speech to descend on the U.S. Capitol as Congress met for a joint session to reaffirm President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
The violent breach forced an emergency evacuation of parts of the building while Vice President Mike Pence who presided over the session and whom Trump attacked directly for refusing to do his bidding was also swept away to safety.
Here’s the growing list of resignations in the aftermath of the chaos:
- Stephanie Grisham, the chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump who was also a former White House press secretary
- Deputy press secretary, Sarah Matthews
- White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta
- Deputy national security adviser, Matthew Pottinger
- John Costello, deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and security at the Commerce Department
- Ryan Tully, Trump’s top White House adviser on Russia
- Tyler Goodspeed, acting chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers
- Elaine Chao, transportation secretary
- Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former acting chief of staff and most recently U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland
Mulvaney who announced he would be stepping down on Thursday morning told CNBC in an interview that he no longer could be a part of the administration in the wake of the violent episode.
“You can’t look at that yesterday and say I want to be a part of that in any way shape or form,” 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,” Mulvaney added, appearing to defend a different decision that was made by some of his colleagues to stay.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy on Wednesday, issued a statement saying that she was deeply troubled by the “traumatic and entirely avoidable event” that unfolded following Trump’s address.
“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 wrote in the Thursday statement. “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.”
Chao is the first cabinet official to resign over the Capitol siege.