WATCH: Calls grow to remove Trump from office after Capitol riots
The latest to resign was Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who joined outgoing Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Thursday and others in linking the riot to Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, while also criticizing the president’s initial response to the growing violence.
Law enforcement personnel in charge of securing the Capitol are also quitting their posts after failing to properly secure the building.
Here’s a full list of who has submitted their resignations.
The education secretary’s resignation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Thursday evening, and confirmed by the Associated Press and CNN.
In her resignation letter addressed to Trump, DeVos lamented that the events of Wednesday distracted from the accomplishments of her department.
“Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protestors overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business,” she wrote.
“That behavior was unconscionable for our country,” she continued. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is an inflection point for me.”
DeVos put out a statement in the middle of the riot Wednesday condemning the violence, writing the “eyes of America’s children and students … are watching what is unfolding in Washington today.”
“We must set a better example for them, and we must teach them the solemn obligations and duties that come with the title ‘American,'” she added.
— Secretary Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) January 6, 2021
Trump’s transportation secretary was the first cabinet member to quit the administration in the wake of the riot, confirming her exit Thursday morning.
In a public statement, Chao was not as explicit in condemning the president, but noted that the “traumatic and entirely avoidable” riot occurred “following a rally (Trump) addressed.”
“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,” she wrote.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation. pic.twitter.com/rFxPsBoh6t
— Sec. Elaine Chao (@SecElaineChao) January 7, 2021
Chao is married to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who refused to support efforts by other Republican senators to object to certain states’ electoral votes Wednesday.
Melania Trump’s chief of staff was the first notable White House official to resign Wednesday in the wake of the riot.
Grisham confirmed the news in a post on Twitter, saying it has “been an honor to serve the country in the @WhiteHouse.”
“I am very proud to have been a part of the @Flotus @MELANIATRUMP mission to help children everywhere, & proud of the many accomplishments of this administration,” she wrote.
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Before working for the first lady, Grisham served as Donald Trump’s third White House press secretary. During her tenure, she did not hold a single press briefing.
She was replaced by Kayleigh McEnany in April of 2020.
The White House deputy national security adviser also resigned on Wednesday. Bloomberg first reported the resignation.
Pottinger was a leading figure in the development of Trump’s China policy. He resigned in response to Trump’s reaction to the Capitol riot, a senior administration official told Reuters.
The former Reuters and Wall Street Journal reporter, who left journalism to join the U.S. Marines after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, had served in the White House since Trump took office.
The former acting White House chief of staff told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday that he had called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to let him know I was resigning” as special envoy to Northern Ireland.
“I can’t do it, I can’t stay here,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of my friends resign over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours, it would be completely understandable if they did.”
Mulvaney said others who work for Trump had decided to remain in their posts in an effort to provide some sort of guardrails for the president during his final days in office.
“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 said.
Mulvaney, a former congressman and state representative for South Carolina, had also served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. His tenure there coincided with his time as chief of staff before Trump re-assigned him to the Northern Ireland post in 2020.
Others who resigned included Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, the Associated Press reported.
The White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta, also resigned, as did a deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews, two sources told Reuters.
John Costello, deputy assistant secretary at the Commerce Department, announced his departure in a blistering tweet, writing, “yesterday’s events were an unprecedented attack on the very core of our democracy — incited by a sitting president.”
Today, I resigned my position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intelligence and Security. pic.twitter.com/x8d6qCczok
— John Costello (@CostelloJK) January 7, 2021
Late Thursday, Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the Department of Health and Human Services, issued a statement saying she is also leaving.
“I cannot support language that results in incitement of violence and risks our very existence,” she wrote.
“I very much hope that we will all take a step back and work through this painful time together—listening to each other, respecting each other, and bringing us together again as the great nation we are.”
Top aide came close
Reuters reported that national security adviser Robert O’Brien considered resigning Wednesday, citing sources in the White House.
But sources later told Reuters that O’Brien has no plans to quit.
“A strong national security team remains in place at the State Department, the Department of Defense, Treasury, the intelligence community and the National Security Council,” one official said, adding that the team had been guarding against any foreign threats prior to Biden’s inauguration.
The National Security Council coordinates foreign policy and maintains contacts with other governments, so loss of key staff could raise questions about national security as the new administration takes over.
Law enforcement officials
While not White House officials, some U.S. Capitol security personnel and the head of the U.S. Capitol Police are resigning as well.
Chief Steven Sund said Thursday that police had planned for a free speech demonstration and did not expect the violent attack. He said in a statement it was unlike anything he’d experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement.
His resignation, which will take effect Jan. 16, was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had accepted the resignation of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, after earlier requesting it.
The Kentucky Republican said Thursday in a statement that Stenger’s resignation is effective immediately.
Democrat Chuck Schumer had earlier vowed to fire Stenger when Schumer becomes Senate majority leader later this month if Stenger was still in the position.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, another key security official, had also submitted his resignation.
— With files from Global’s Hannah Jackson, the Associated Press and Reuters
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