Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao addressed the racist attacks that former President Trump has launched against her in recent months, writing in a statement that his remarks say “a whole lot more about him than it will ever say about Asian Americans.”
“When I was young, some people deliberately misspelled or mispronounced my name. Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation,” she said in a statement to Politico. “He doesn’t seem to understand that.”
Chao led the Department of Transportation for much of Trump’s presidency, before stepping down in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. She said at the time that the “traumatic and entirely avoidable event” had “deeply troubled me in a way I simply cannot set aside.”
She has since faced the ire of the former president alongside her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). In recent months, Trump has frequently used a racist nickname for Chao when taking jabs at McConnell on social media.
“I think it’s very helpful if the media does not repeat that racist tweet,” Chao told Kaitlan Collins in an appearance on “CNN This Morning” in December. “I mean, if it were the N-word or any other word, the media would not repeat it. But the media continuously repeats his racist taunt.”