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HHS Secretary Alex Azar resigns citing Capitol riot

By
Jean Lotus
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II said in his resignation letter that violence at the U.S. Capitol would tarnish the legacy of the outgoing Trump administration. File Pool photo by Michael A. McCoy/UPI
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II said in his resignation letter that violence at the U.S. Capitol would "tarnish" the legacy of the outgoing Trump administration. File Pool photo by Michael A. McCoy/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Alex Azar, chief of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the violence at the U.S. Capitol would "tarnish" the legacy of the Trump administration in his resignation letter.

The letter, submitted earlier this week, says Azar will step down Wednesday, the last day of Trump's term.

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"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.

The secretary asked President Donald Trump to "condemn unequivocally any form of violence" and to ask his followers not to disrupt the inaugural events for incoming President-elect Joe Biden.

In his outgoing letter, Azar praised Operation Warp Speed, the federal plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been criticised for a slow rollout of the vaccine. Of 31 million vaccine doses distributed, 12 million have been administered to patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"With the pandemic raging, the continued need to deliver vaccines and therapeutics to the American people, and the imperative of ensuring a smooth transition to the Biden Administration, I have determined that it is in the best interest of the people we serve to remain as Secretary until the end of the term," Azar said.

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Other outgoing Trump administration Cabinet members who have referred to the Capitol violence in their resignation letters include Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Siege aftermath: damage to historic U.S. Capitol

Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

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