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Alex Azar resigns: Tells Trump, Capitol siege is a threat to legacy

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  • Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar resigned this week, using his departure letter to condemn President Trump over his role in inciting last week’s violent attack on the US Capitol.
  • In the resignation letter, which dates to January 12 but was obtained by NBC News on Friday, Azar said that Trump’s actions following the election “threaten to tarnish” the administration’s accomplishments.
  • Azar will resign on January 20, the very same day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar resigned earlier this week, using his departure letter to strongly criticize President Trump over his role in inciting last week’s violent riot at the US Capitol.

In the formal resignation letter, which dates to January 12 but was obtained by NBC News on Friday, Azar wrote that the attack — which left five people dead — was “an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States first brought to the world,” according to the Guardian.

Azar, who has been in the Cabinet position since 2018, used the opportunity to list what he saw as the administration’s key accomplishments but said that Trump’s “actions and rhetoric” following the election “threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this Administration.” 

“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,” he added, according to the Guardian.

Azar announced he would resign at noon on January 20, the very same day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated. 

Read More: Young, healthy people have figured out a loophole to get a COVID-19 vaccine without skipping the line

The heath secretary joins a growing list of other Cabinet officials who have already announced their departures, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. 

DeVos, who has called the riots “unconscionable,” was one of the first top Trump officials to condemn the attack.

“The disruptions and violence must end, the law must be upheld, and the work of the people must go on,” she tweeted at the time.

Azar has been overseeing Operation Warp Speed amid the coronavirus crisis, which has taken the lives of more than 390,000 Americans at the time of writing, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University

This week, the administration faced reports that it had no additional COVID-19 vaccine doses left to send to states, despite promises that they would start releasing more doses next week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than 10 million American adults have begun receiving their shots since vaccinations began in mid-December.

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