Commentary on Political Economy

Friday 1 March 2024

RATS MUST DIE LIKE RATS

 

Angela Chao at the New York City Opera Fall Gala in 2010
Angela Chao at the New York City Opera Fall Gala in 2010
ADRIEL REBOH/PATRICK MCMULLAN/GETTY IMAGES

The death of Mitch McConnell’s sister-in-law in a car crash is being investigated as suspicious, Texas sheriffs confirmed.

Angela Chao, 50, was found dead shortly after midnight on February 11 after her car went into a pond at a ranch owned by the family in Johnson City, 40 miles outside Austin.

Chao’s sister Elaine, the 70-year-old wife of the Senate minority leader, was secretary of labour in George W Bush’s cabinet, and secretary of transport for Donald Trump.

Chao’s father James, a shipping magnate who brought his family to the United States from Taiwan in the 1960s, announced her death.

Chao had taken over from him as chief executive of Foremost Group, and was married to Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist from Austin worth $1.7 billion, who is part-owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team. He previously served on the boards of Facebook, Walmart, Marvel Entertainment and Dell.

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Chao’s death was initially deemed an unfortunate accident, but is now under criminal investigation, sheriffs said on Thursday.

“This incident was not a typical accident,” the Blanco County sheriff’s office said in a letter to Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney-general.

She was married to Jim Breyer, a billionaire venture capitalist
She was married to Jim Breyer, a billionaire venture capitalist
FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES

The sheriff’s office has been under pressure to release the accident reports and records amid claims that Chao was submerged for more than an hour as emergency services attempted to rescue her.

“Although the preliminary investigation indicated this was an unfortunate accident, the sheriff’s office is still investigating this accident as a criminal matter until they have sufficient evidence to rule out criminal activity,” the letter said, adding that it was too soon to make public the documentation from the scene.

“Releasing the reports, videos and other information prior to the completion of the investigation would interfere with the investigation and possible prosecution of this matter.”

Chao was the youngest of six sisters: the eldest three were born in Taiwan, and the younger three in the United States.

Her sister Elaine Chao is the wife of the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell
Her sister Elaine Chao is the wife of the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell
MANUEL BALCE CENETA/AP

Their father, 96, has made significant donations to Harvard and to McConnell’s campaigns. McConnell, 82, announced on Wednesday that he will step down in November, ending the longest tenure as Senate leader in history.

The Kentucky Republican has suffered several health scares in recent months, including freezing in front of the cameras, and said that his decision was reached in part due to the challenging year he has had, in reference to a relative’s death.

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“When you lose a loved one, particularly at a young age, there’s a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process,” he said on the Senate floor. “Perhaps it is God’s way of reminding you of your own life’s journey to prioritise the impact of the world that we will all inevitably leave behind.”

He has also made little secret of his dislike for Donald Trump, and the pair have not spoken since December 2020.

Trump calls McConnell “The Old Crow”, and “an absolute loser”. He has also accused McConnell’s wife, a former member of his cabinet, of being a Chinese stooge.

He suggested she had a connection to the classified documents found in President Biden’s home in Delaware and at an office in Washington.

“Does Coco Chow have anything to do with Joe Biden’s Classified Documents being sent and stored in Chinatown?” Trump wrote. “Her husband, the Old Broken Crow, is VERY close to Biden, the Democrats, and, of course, China.”

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