Elaine Chao, former President Trump’s Transportation secretary, is declining to respond to Trump’s latest use of a racist nickname to attack her and urging the media to not repeat it.
Trump on multiple occasions has invoked Chao as he lambastes her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and he did so again on Wednesday evening in a Truth Social post that included a racist nickname for Chao.
“I think it’s very helpful if the media does not repeat that racist tweet,” Chao told Kaitlan Collins on “CNN This Morning.” “I mean, if it were the N-word or any other word, the media would not repeat it. But the media continuously repeats his racist taunt.”
After Trump revived his racist nickname of her overnight, Former Trump Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says, “He’s trying to get a rise out of us. He says all sorts of outrageous things, and I don't make a point of answering any of one of them.” pic.twitter.com/Nd6PqPyJGm— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) December 29, 2022
Typically, the media does not verbalize "Coco Chao" and in this case, apparently Collins followed custom. Media types do, as Chao noted, has placed Trump's tweets with the derogatory nickname on air- but it generally does so with the n-word, also. And the six-letter word for which the latter substitutes is easily reduced to the "n-word," whereas if the media referred to the "CC name" or "CC nickname," no one would have a clue what they're referring to.
The report continues
The attack came as part of a post criticizing McConnell for voting for the $1.7 trillion omnibus package to fund the government into next year.
“Something is going on with Mitch McConnell and all of the terrible and virtually automatic ‘surrenders’ he makes to the Marxist Democrats, like on the $1.7 Trillion ‘Ominous’ Bill. Could have killed it using the Debt Ceiling, or made it MUCH better in the Republican House,” Trump wrote.
He later in the post invoked the nickname in an apparent attack on Chao’s family’s U.S.-based charter shipping company, which has dealings in China and other countries.
“He’s trying to get a rise out of us,” Chao, who also served as Labor secretary under former President George W. Bush, said on CNN. “He says all sorts of outrageous things, and I don’t make a point of answering any one of them.”
But she had made a point of condoning them. This is not the "new Coke" or the "new Trump." While Elaine Chao was Secretary of Transportation- leaving only after the attempted coup- President Trump was consistently promoting bigotry. We remember "the very good people on both sides," the refugees from Haiti who "all have AIDS," the Nigerian immigrants who would "never go back to their huts." Vox pointed out other examples, including two in which
Trump mocked Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, again calling her “Pocahontas” in a 2019 tweet before adding, “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” The capitalized “TRAIL” is seemingly a reference to the Trail of Tears — a horrific act of ethnic cleansing in the 19th century in which Native Americans were forcibly relocated, causing thousands of deaths.
Trump tweeted later that year that several Black and brown members of Congress — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — are “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and that they should “go back” to those countries. It’s a common racist trope to say that Black and brown people, particularly immigrants, should go back to their countries of origin. Three of the four members of Congress whom Trump targeted were born in the US.
Chao kept her mouth shut then and throughout her 47-month stint in the Administration. It was an awfully good gig with regular pay, steady hours, and no heavy lifting. The position brought other advantages because as a 2020 report from the Office of Inspector General
details, Chao tasked her staff with far more than travel planning. The internal watchdog cited Chao for four kinds of ethics violations, including requiring DOT's staff to help with personal errands and with marketing her father's biography....
... during her time at the Department of Transportation, Chao's office handled matters related to her father, James Chao, who founded the shipping company Foremost Group, and her sister, Angela Chao, who runs the company.
It was been a wise move, then, for Chao not to criticize Donald Trump until she left the Administration. And it's not that Trump avoided stereotyping Asian-Americans while Chao was in the Administration. At 1:40 of the video below, President Trump can be seen referring to SARS-CoV-2 as the "Kung Flu," yet Chao did not find her voice until she was personally attacked- and Trump suddenly realized her involvement with the family business is unseemly.
"The media continuously repeats his racist taunt,” says Elaine Chao, who disapproves of Trump when he specifically condemns her and includes reference to the family business she kept more than an eye on when she was supposedly serving all Americans. But ignoring Donald Trump and what he says or tweets will not again keep him from becoming President again, nor would it play any role in holding him accountable for crimes committed during his presidency. The blame lies in Donald Trump and those who served the authoritarian faithfully, including the wife of the Senate Minority Leader.