- Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has spoken out against Trump’s attacks on her.
- On Monday, Trump again referred to Chao as “Coco Chow” in an article for Truth Social.
- Chao said the racist moniker says more about Trump “than he will ever say about Asian Americans.”
Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has hit back at former President Donald Trump, who has been posting racist rants about her on social media for months.
In a statement to Politico on Wednesday, Chao — who served four years in Trump’s cabinet — expressed her displeasure with his derogatory nickname for her.
“When I was young, some people deliberately misspelled or mispronounced my name,” the statement read. “Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation.”
“He doesn’t seem to understand that, which says a lot more about him than he will ever say about Asian Americans,” Chao added.
Chao released her statement after Trump in a Truth Social article on Monday once again referred to her as “Coco Chow.”
“Did Coco Chow have anything to do with sending and storing Joe Biden’s classified documents in Chinatown?” he wrote. “Her husband, the Old Broken Crow, is VERY close to Biden, the Democrats and, of course, China.”
Chao is married to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Trump has repeatedly claimed without justification that Chao and McConnell are compromised by their ties to China. Trump also called Chao “crazy” and described her as McConnell’s “loving wife of China”.
Chao had, until now, avoided responding directly to Trump.
“He’s trying to tease us. He says all kinds of outrageous things, and I don’t want to respond to any of them,” she told CNN in December. McConnell previously said he had no response to Trump calling his wife crazy.
It’s unclear why Chao — of all the spouses of Trump’s political enemies — was such a magnet for the former president’s ire, but Chao was the first Trump cabinet member to resign after the Capitol riot.
When approached to comment on Chao, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung told Politico, “People should stop feigning outrage and engaging in controversies that only exist in their head.”
Cheung also repeated Trump’s rhetoric on Chao.
“What is actually concerning is his family’s deeply troubling ties to communist China, which have undermined American economic and national security,” Cheung told Politico.
Trump has repeatedly made racist and anti-Asian remarks. He gave COVID-19 the nickname “Kung-Flu” in 2020. His other term for COVID-19, the “Chinese virus”, is still used in right-wing fringe circles.
Trump’s press office and a representative for Chao did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.