Putting to bed any last shred of credibility to Trump’s claim that he would “drain the swamp” of Washington, D.C., his transition team announced that Elaine Chao, a wealthy corporate shill and current wife of Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been selected to be the Transportation Secretary in Trump’s administration.
Chao is the consummate Washington swamp dweller. Married to a long-time senator, a former Bush cabinet member, and currently sitting on the boards of no less than four corporations, there is absolutely no way anyone could argue that this selection is anything but political backscratching. McConnell stood by Trump during his bigoted campaign, and now his wife gets a plum gig in his administration. Hardly a coincidence.
Elaine Chao also serves presently on 4 corporate boards:
Vulcan Materials https://t.co/ng15Pq1rVq
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) November 29, 2016
But the punchline to this bad joke is that Chao’s family is known for “transportation” of another kind. Her father is a notoriously shady businessman who was recently caught smuggling millions of dollars worth of cocaine out of Colombia using his “shipping” company as a front for illicit drug running.
Before the Ping May, a rusty cargo vessel, could disembark from the port of Santa Marta en route to the Netherlands in late August, Colombian inspectors boarded the boat and made a discovery. Hidden in the ship’s chain locker, amidst its load of coal bound for Europe, were approximately 40 kilograms, or about ninety pounds, of cocaine. A Colombian Coast Guard official told The Nation that there is an ongoing investigation.
The seizure of the narcotics shipment in the Caribbean port occurred far away from Kentucky, the state in which Senator Mitch McConnell is now facing a career-defining election. But the Republican Senate minority leader has the closest of ties to the owner of the Ping May, the vessel containing the illicit materials: the Foremost Maritime Corporation, a firm founded and owned by McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family.
So the man who wants to imprison Hillary Clinton for the “crime” of having a private email server has now promoted the daughter of a glorified coke dealer and put her in charge of the very area that could benefit her family’s shipping business – legal and otherwise. The implications are staggering.
And if one were to give Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell and Trump the benefit of the doubt and argue that her family’s business is separate from her own qualifications, one may want to reconsider. McConnell was recently given a “gift” from Chao’s father estimated to be between $5 million and $25 million, which McConnell has since used to further enrich himself.
Again, The Nation:
The generous gift made McConnell one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, with a net worth averaging around $22.8 million, according to The Washington Post’s review of his financial disclosures.
Trump is building one of the most corrupt administrations in United States history, and he’s just getting started.
Featured image via Jeff Swensen/Getty Images