The Senate voted 93 to 6 to confirm Elaine Chao as head of the U.S. Transportation Department, which overseas aviation, vehicle, train, and pipeline safety. Chao, a former U.S. labor secretary and deputy transportation secretary, will face key decisions on how to regulate the growing use of drones and automakers’ plans to offer self-driving cars.
While there is criticism of Chao, in particular on environmental issues, there is no significant opposition to her nomination and she is expected to be confirmed.
With six different confirmation hearings stacked on the same day, on top of Trump’s press conference, it’s impossible for the media to provide the information people need. And that’s the point — it appears to be a deliberate effort to manipulate both the press and the public.
Elaine Chao’s family owns ships flagged abroad, a way to avoid U.S. taxes and higher labor costs. But one of Chao’s missions at the Transportation Department will be to press American-owned ships to fly the U.S. flag.
In Trump’s picks for economic and domestic policymaking jobs, there’s a consistent underlying thread. Most of them could have been nominated by any GOP nominee. There’s nary a populist among them — not even the conservative kind.
The flurry of picks showed Trump, a real estate tycoon with no governing experience, rewarding loyalists and established Washington veterans as he rounds out his circle of top advisers.
Although Trump spoke on the campaign trail about wanting to “drain the swamp” in Washington, more than half of Trump’s nine key appointments so far have been accomplished Washington insiders, such as Chao.