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3rd Trump Cabinet member resigns since Capitol riot

Secretaries Betsy DeVos, Elaine Chao and now Chad Wolf have all stepped down since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

WASHINGTON — Three members of President Donald Trump's Cabinet have resigned since last Wednesday's pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was the latest to do so on Monday. Wolf said in a message to staff that he would step down at 11:59 p.m., even though he had earlier said he planned to remain in his job.  It comes days after he criticized Trump over the riot. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao handed their resignations last Thursday.

In her resignation letter, DeVos blamed Trump for inflaming tensions in the violent assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy. She said, “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said her resignation was effective Monday.

"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 said in a statement she sent to her colleagues at the Department of Transportation. "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."  

At least five others who work in the White House resigned within hours of a mob of Trump supporters breaching the Capitol.

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, also resigned last Thursday, citing Trump's language.

Bloomberg and CNN reported early Thursday morning that deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger resigned Wednesday afternoon. Bloomberg reports he had intended to leave on Election Day, but stayed at the request of national security adviser Robert O'Brien.

CNN reports other members of the national security team are considering resigning.

Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary for first lady Melania Trump, said in a statement Wednesday evening that it was an “honor” to serve the country in the White House and be part of the first lady’s “mission” to help children.

Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2019 file photo Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao speaks at EPA headquarters in Washington.

Grisham was one of Trump’s longest serving aides, having joined the campaign in 2015. She served as the White House press secretary and never held a press briefing.

Wednesday’s violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol by the president’s supporters sparked renewed conversations inside the White House about mass resignations by mid-level aides who are responsible for operations of the office of the president.

Shortly after Grisham's resignation, two other White House aides quit. 

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews said in a statement that "as someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw. I'll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power." 

White House Social Secretary Ricky Niceta submitted her resignation in response to Wednesday's riot, according to media outlets. 

Two people familiar with the conversations said the aides were torn between fears of what more would happen if they left and a desire to register their disgust with their boss. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

Credit: AP
Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, watches as President Donald Trump and the first lady greet attendees during the annual Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn, Friday, June 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

CNBC reported that Trump's former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland has resigned from his post.

"I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mick Mulvaney told CNBC in an exclusive interview. 

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Marc Short reportedly has said he has been banned from the White House. Real Clear Politics reporter Philip Wegmann, citing Short, tweeted that Trump blamed Short after Pence said Wednesday he did not have the power to overturn the election results.

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Credit: AP
Police stand guard after holding off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)