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Politics HHS Secretary Alex Azar complains of tarnished legacy to Trump

05:50  16 january  2021
05:50  16 january  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has turned in a resignation letter in which he complains about a tarnished legacy for his department and the administration after riots in the Capitol.

Officials discussing plans to replace HHS Secretary Azar . Any move to replace Azar would be contingent on President Donald Trump deciding to move forward, and there is currently little appetite inside the White House for a big shake up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump's "actions and rhetoric" have tarnished the administration's legacy, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a resignation letter submitted this week.

Alex Azar wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump held his first press conference in over a week to make an announcement on prescription drug prices as he continues to challenge the results of the 2020 Presidential election. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) © Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump held his first press conference in over a week to make an announcement on prescription drug prices as he continues to challenge the results of the 2020 Presidential election. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Azar submitted the standard resignation letter for a Cabinet secretary to offer an outgoing president, dated January 12 and obtained by CNN Friday.

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task force, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar found out he was being pushed aside just minutes before President Trump made the Thursday, and decided to hold it at HHS "as a show of support to Azar ." Azar was asked Wednesday morning about the possibility of the administration

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In the letter, addressed to President Trump, Azar laid out what he considered to be the best accomplishments of HHS over the past four years.

"Unfortunately, the actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during this past week, threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this Administration," Azar wrote in the letter.

"The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world," Azar wrote in the letter, first reported by the New York Times.

"I implore you to continue to condemn unequivocally any form of violence, to demand that no one attempt to disrupt the inaugural activities in Washington or elsewhere, and to continue to support unreservedly the peaceful and orderly transition of power on January 20, 2021."

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar weighs in on the testimony from Rick Bright, the ousted director of a key Azar and Trump react to whistleblower's testimony. CNN reporter details cost of White House deep clean. This Republican lawmaker is 'strongly considering' impeaching Trump .

President Donald Trump on Sunday evening denied he was going to fire Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar .

Azar said he plans to stay in his role until Jan. 20, when the president-elect Joe Biden's team takes over.

Azar mentions the coronavirus pandemic first and it was, by far, the biggest development of Trump's presidency. More than 390,000 Americans have died in the pandemic and more than 23 million have been diagnosed with the virus.

But in his letter, Azar doesn't mention these numbers, the federal government's failure to warn of a pandemic for weeks, or the greatly delayed rollout of tests that public health experts say slowed the US response during crucial weeks that could have slowed the spread of the virus.

Azar does not mention disagreements over the danger of the virus -- Trump repeatedly claimed it would "disappear" -- and doesn't mention arguments over mandating or even recommending the use of masks to slow the spread.

Instead, Azar characterizes his department's actions as quick and aggressive.

"While we mourn every lost life, our early, aggressive and comprehensive efforts saved hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives," Azar writes in the letter.

"Operation Warp Speed achieved in nine months what many doubted would be possible in a year and a half or more," Azar said.

"As of this date we have two safe and effective vaccines being administered to millions of Americans, with more vaccines likely to be authorized shortly."

While it's true the vaccines have been developed in record time and are remarkably effective, the rollout has been slower than promised.

Operation Warp Speed repeatedly promised 20 million Americans would have been vaccinated by the end of December. As of Friday -- three days after Azar submitted the letter -- 10.6 million people had been vaccinated.

Outgoing HHS Secretary Azar Urges Trump to Condemn Violence, Says Riot Threatens Admin's Legacy .
"The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United State of America first brought to the world," Alex Azar wrote to the president in a Friday letter.Azar, who was nominated by Trump as HHS secretary in November 2017, penned a letter to the White House Friday announcing his resignation at noon on Inauguration Day, January 20. He declined to follow fellow Cabinet members Betsy DeVos and Elaine Chao as they immediately resigned following the deadly riot, writing that it's "in the best interest of the people" for him and Trump to serve out their terms.

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