US transportation secretary resigns, several members of Trump's administration follow suit

Transportation Secretary and wife to Mitch McConnell, Elaine Chao, became the first person on Thursday to resign from Donald Trump’s cabinet.

Chao said in a statement shared on Twitter:"It has been the honour of a lifetime to serve the US Department of Transportation."

In the statement, addressed to the agency she led, Chao wrote that she will resign effective Monday and was "deeply troubled" by the "entirely avoidable" events at the Capitol building.

"I am tremendously proud of the many accomplishments we were able to achieve together for our country and I will never forget the commitment you have for this Department and the United States of America."

Before releasing her statement, Chao called White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to inform him of her decision to resign, the senior official said. She has not as of yet submitted a letter of resignation to the President.

Chao also encouraged senior officials at the Transportation Department to stay on until January 20 to ensure a smooth transition. Several of her senior staff were considering resigning as well, but were "talked out of it" by Chao, this official said.

Chao has been in politics for many years, serving in both Bush administrations and acting as labour secretary for all eight years of president George W. Bush's tenure.

Trump’s deputy national security adviser, Matt Pottinger, former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, and Ryan Tully, the top White House adviser on Russia, also resigned on Thursday.

Pottinger and Mulvaney’s resignations come amid rumours that others will also quit after the US president incited and praised rioters while continuing to air baseless grievances over his loss of the presidency.

Two of the first lady’s top aides resigned on Wednesday night including Stephanie Grisham, a longtime Trump loyalist who previously served as White House press secretary.

The deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Matthews, also announced her resignation, saying she was “deeply disturbed” by the storming of the Capitol.

In a statement, Matthews said that she was honoured to serve in the Trump administration and proud of the policies that were enacted.

She went on to say: "As someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today.

"I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”

According to reports from several news sources, there are several senior administration officials who have also begun talking informally about invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president before his term expires on 20 January.

There are also calls for a second impeachment to ensure Trump cannot run for public office again.