Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who has been leading the coronavirus task force, was “blindsided” by the White House decision to put Vice President Pence in charge of the response to the virus outbreak, the Washington Post reports. Azar only learned of the decision just moments before Donald Trump’s Wednesday evening press briefing that has been widely panned. Pence said on Wednesday that he would run a task force at the Department of Health and Human Services, which Azar has been in charge of for weeks now.
Earlier on Wednesday, Azar told lawmakers that he “didn’t anticipate” the White House appointing a “czar” to oversee the government response effort, a move that would essentially demote Azar from his role as the head of the coronavirus task force. “I don’t anticipate one,” Azar had said, adding, “This is working extremely well.”
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere reacted to a previous report from Politico that said the White House is considering appointing a czar to oversee the response.
Deere assured the outlet on Twitter that Trump is “pleased” with Azar heading the response team.
This is not true! The President took decisive action by creating the Coronavirus Virus Task Force a month ago and is pleased with the leadership of @SecAzar to protect the public health. https://t.co/ip8npLDdTm
— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) February 26, 2020
That tweet didn’t age well. Trump’s decision to put Pence in charge of the outbreak baffled a lot of people since, during his time as Governor, he oversaw and exacerbated the worst outbreak of HIV in Indiana.
Speaking of tweets not aging well, this one from 2014 is a doozy:
Obama just appointed an Ebola Czar with zero experience in the medical area and zero experience in infectious disease control. A TOTAL JOKE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2014
The germaphobic president should take his own advice in this tweet:
President Obama has a personal responsibility to visit & embrace all people in the US who contract Ebola!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2014
When Trump was asked why he put Pence in charge, the president insisted it’s because Health Secretary Alex Azar is too busy with things like reducing prescription drug prices. “I think it’s perhaps the most complicated job that we have in government.” So, Trump named Pence, a guy who caused a massive outbreak in Indiana to oversee an outbreak in the U.S. Sounds legit!
Featured image via screen capture
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