China Connection: Mitch McConnell’s Wife, Elaine Chao, Tapped for Transportation Secretary
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
While Americans were torn over President-elect Trump’s push to either imprison or kick out of the country anyone who disrespects the American flag (a blatantly unconstitutional move), Trump went about tapping his Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao. She is the wife of Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. This is hardly what I would call draining the swamp. Instead, it smacks of a payback for loyalty during Trump’s election season. And it’s not just that… Chao is a security threat and should not be allowed in the President’s cabinet. She would never pass a real background check. Although, by and large, I like most of President Trump’s picks… he chose poorly on this one.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 29, 2016
Chao is a retread from the Bush administration – she was tapped as George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary. A move that should never have been allowed given Chao’s contacts in communist China. She is also connected to the Bloomberg Foundation which is very anti-coal. Ironic since she lives in Kentucky. McConnell has been a big supporter of the now-defunct Trans Pacific Partnership. I would remind everyone that Ted Cruz called McConnell a stone-cold liar for a reason:
Prompting Cruz’s outburst: McConnell’s move to set up amendment votes on a must-pass transportation bill. After senators voted to consider the bill, McConnell (R-Ky.) set up votes on two controversial measures — a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States — and did it in such a way that will make it difficult for other amendments to be considered.
That move incensed Cruz — who had announced his intention to offer other amendments, and who, like many conservatives, strongly opposes the bank’s reauthorization, though it enjoys support from a supermajority of his Senate colleagues. While McConnell has personally spoken against Ex-Im reauthorization, Democrats said in June he had agreed to schedule an Ex-Im vote in order to get highly divisive trade legislation passed.
But McConnell at the time denied that any deal had been struck, and Cruz said Friday the same assurance was given in a private Republican conference meeting:
We had a Senate Republican lunch where I stood up and I asked the majority leader very directly, what was the deal that was just cut on [trade legislation, and was there a deal for the Export-Import Bank? It was a direct question. I asked the majority leader in front of all the Republican senators. The majority leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask such a question, and the majority leader looked at me and said, “There is no deal, there is no deal, there is no deal.”
“Like Saint Peter, he repeated it three times,” Cruz added.
So, you see why I cringe when I see McConnell hanging with Trump wearing a Cheshire grin. As much as I detest him, his wife gives me even more pause. And I’m not the only one. When Bush nominated Chao for Labor Secretary, Chinese dissidents like Hongda “Harry” Wu were shocked.
“I worry about Elaine Chao’s business relationship with communist China,” he said in 2001. “This woman has a significant shipping business through her father.”
Add to this Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure spending proposal. Sen. McConnell has previously worked on behalf of President Obama to shove a $305 billion highway bill through Congress, in addition to multiple other spending monstrosities that we can ill afford. His wife will now have the ear of the most powerful man in America and will be advising him on infrastructure spending. McConnell’s penchant for pork barrel spending will also be a breeze for him with his wife in this position.
Chao’s father, James S.C. Chao, is the founder of Maritime Corp. They ship goods to China and they also buy ships from China State Shipbuilding Corporation. He has strong ties to former Chinese President Jiang Zemin. They went to school together at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and have stayed in touch ever since. So much for making China answer on trade.
Elaine Chao has heavily lobbied for normalized trade with communist China. She has also severely downplayed concerns about China’s growing military threat, espionage campaigns in the US and human rights abuses. We are already in a cyber war with China and the military tensions are mounting by the day. Chao is an enemy from within without a doubt.
Both Chao and McConnell serve on the board of the China Foundation, a nonprofit charity devoted to helping develop rural parts of China. That should raise red flags all over the place (pun intended). McConnell has been China’s biggest supporter in the Senate. Chao sought out John Huang to help raise money for Republican senators in 1989 – beating Bill and Hillary Clinton to the punch in 1992. In 1993, Huang, then head of Lippo Bank, rounded up a coalition of Chinese banks and individuals to sponsor Chao’s visit to Los Angeles as the new head of United Way. Huang gave McConnell $2,000 in illegal donations as part of a foreign money-laundering scheme — one of only two contributions Huang made to Republicans. When Chinagate broke, Chao decried the prosecution of Huang and claimed… you guessed it… racism.
Richard Fisher Jr., a former Heritage analyst who is footnoted in the declassified version of the bipartisan Cox Report which documented Chinese espionage at US defense labs, has warned heavily of China’s goal of modernizing the People’s Liberation Army to project power past the mainland’s waters, targeting US allies like Taiwan and even the US. Fisher left Heritage and it is said that Chao was behind the departure because he raised national security concerns over China and her military.
Chao seems very chummy with the insurance giant AIG who has business in China. Money and trade are flowing through Chao and her contacts both here in the States and in China. She is on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies. She has also served on the board of Wells Fargo, who, like Bloomberg, has bankrolled anti-coal efforts. Chao, 63, is a Taiwanese immigrant and has also served as chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission. She became director of the Peace Corps in 1991 and led the United Way of America from 1992-1996.
US Senate documents made public in 2001, show Chao had been for the preceding four years a board member of the Birmingham, Alabama based Protective Life Corp., holding 7,000 shares. Protective Life is associated with Chinese insurance companies in Indonesia and China, including China Resources Holdings Co., an intelligence-gathering front for China’s Peoples Liberation Army.
Because she is Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao will face no opposition and will be confirmed as Transportation Secretary. Along with her confirmation, China will be brought directly into the White House.