Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has resigned from office. However, Azar plans to stay put till January 20 when a new replacement will take over from him. A key line is his resignation letter states that the “actions and rhetoric” of President Donald Trump may have tarnished the legacy of Trump’s administration. The resignation letter, obtained by news outlets, was dated January 12.
In his letter to Trump, Azar outlined achievements he considers to be critical of his service during the four years he held sway as secretary. Despite his HHS achievements, Azar stated that the actions and unguided speeches of President Trump might have overshadowed the gains of the administration, especially in the wake of the insurrection at the US Capitol by supporters of the president.
In his letter, Azar stated that the attack on the Capitol was an assault on American democracy and on the age-long tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States had taught the rest of the world.
Azar also made a case for a peaceful transition of power come Inauguration Day. The Health and Human Services Secretary urged Trump to continue to condemn any form of violence in clear terms while pleading with the president to ensure that none of his supporters or anyone for that matter attempts to disrupt the inaugural activities in Washington or elsewhere in the country. Azar besought the president to support a peaceful transition of power come Wednesday.
Azar noted in his letter that he would be staying put in office until his successor, chosen by President-elect Joe Biden, takes over, CNN reports. Azar also took time to address the coronavirus pandemic, which he described as the biggest challenge of Trump’s administration. Nearly 400,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, and a whopping 23 million have been affected since the outbreak of the disease a year ago.
While Azar did not churn out the shocking statistics surrounding COVID-19 infections in the US in his resignation letter, the lack of a coordinated federal government response weeks into the pandemic has been attributed as the primary cause of the startling cases of the virus the country is currently facing. Experts have identified the failure to begin testing in time and announce public health measures to combat the virus as the cause of a surge in infection and death rates happening today.
Azar, on his part, said the Health Department took on a rapid and aggressive approach to fighting against the virus. He noted that while there were lives lost along the way, the actions of his department helped saved millions more. He said that Operation Warp Speed was able to achieve in about nine months what should have taken more than a year or thereabout to attain.
Operation Warp Speed was the administration’s response to the pandemic. It is a public and private sector mobilization put together by the federal government to rapidly develop and distribute a vaccine to the American people. As of Friday, only 10.6 million people have been vaccinated so far. This is half of the 20 million Americans OWS hoped to have achieved by December 2020.