Health secretary, Alex Azar, responds to reports of resignation

'Contrary to the @CNN chyron, I am still serving the American people at HHS,' Azar tweeted on Saturday

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Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, resigned earlier in the week following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6 which he says were encouraged by outgoing President Donald Trump.

According to NBC News, Azar claimed his resignation would go into effect on Jan. 20, the same day as President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, in a letter dated on Jan. 12.

Read More: Biden: Science will be at ‘forefront’ of his administration

In the resignation letter, Azar said Trump’s failure to condemn the behavior of his supporters, which resulted in five people dead and many injured, would “tarnish” the achievements made by his administration.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar applauds after receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)

“The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our Democracy and the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world,” Azar said in the resignation letter.

“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 continued.

Read More: Texas realtor who traveled to DC on private jet arrested in Capitol riot

He cited the continued rise in coronavirus cases when saying it was in his “best interest” to work until the transition to the Biden-Harris administration.

“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.

CNN commentator Keith Boykin tweeted, “HHS Secretary Alex Azar has resigned with only give days left on the job. He should have resigned months ago for his failed leadership on the coronavirus.”

On Saturday, Azar issued a statement on Twitter that he is still serving in his position, saying, “Contrary to the @CNN chyron, I am still serving the American people at HHS. I believe it is my duty to help ensure a smooth transition to President-elect Biden’s team during the pandemic and will remain as Secretary through January 20.”

He included a copy of his letter of resignation and added, “I handed in my letter this week with every political appointee, effective January 20 at noon.”

The Trump administration has received scathing criticism for its strategy to distribute vaccines. NBC News reports that more than 30 million vaccines were distributed across the nation but only about 11 million were administered.

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