Elaine Chao Expected to Be Named Transportation Secretary

Elaine Chao, former Labor Secretary and former Deputy Secretary of Transportation, will apparently be nominated to become Secretary of Transportation.

She’s also former President of the United Way and a former board member of Northwest Airlines. Prior service at DOT includes a stint as deputy administrator of Maritime Administration.

A successful Senate confirmation seems likely. She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

While I wouldn’t expect her to be as airline-friendly as House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Airlines for America), it’s reasonable to expect her Transportation Department to be more amenable to things like an American-Qantas expanded joint venture.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. She’s the usual industry kiss-up, and so passengers shouldn’t be surprised if they end up even worse off under the next Admin.

    Competition in the US passenger airline industry may become even more of a joke than it already is. Delta and its fellow industry kingpins must be celebrating today.

  2. She was supposed to be Transportation Secretary under President Bush, but the Labor Secretary candidate ran into trouble and had to withdraw so they shoved her in that spot instead.

  3. I’ve met Elaine Chao and had the fortune of working with her. She is extremely nice, smart, and professional. I truly am happy with this choice.

  4. That Trump guy is so sneaky. He’s obviously nominating an Asian Woman just to hide his evil racist misogyny. 😉

  5. there may be some conflict of interest issues (transportation bill/senate majority leader’s wife) but probably one of his least controversial choices so far..

  6. Elaine Chou received a large chunk of money because of her father’s establishment of a very financially rewarding shipping company with various financial ties in Asia and elsewhere over the years; and some of those ties probably should have warranted further investigations under the FCPA too.

    Even assuming everything is above board with her, she’s very much a transportation industry apologist.

    “Consumers, to the plank with you.” That’s what I expect from her in this role, regardless of what the AEI apologists come up with to cheerlead for her appointment.

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