White House Pushes Back on Reports of Health Secretary’s Possible Removal

April 27, 2020 Updated: April 27, 2020

The White House and President Donald Trump pushed back on anonymously sourced reports that claimed the president is mulling the removal of Alex Azar, the health and human services secretary.

Reports in multiple publications, relying on unnamed sources, claimed that the White House is considering removing Azar from his position.

But White House spokesman Judd Deere praised Azar.

“The Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Secretary Azar, continues to lead on a number of the President’s priorities,” Deere said in a statement. “Any speculation about personnel is irresponsible and a distraction from our whole-of-government response to COVID-19.”

President Trump Discusses Drug Pricing At Health And Human Resources Department
President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar at HHS headquarters in Washington on Oct. 25, 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Trump took to Twitter to reject the reporting, which he called “Fake News,” saying reporters didn’t call to confirm the facts.

“The Lamestream Media knows this, but they are desperate to create the perception of chaos & havoc in the minds of the public. They never even called to ask,” he wrote on April 26.

Epoch Times Photo
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks about the epidemic, flanked by White House coronavirus response coordinator Debbie Birx (L), Vice President Mike Pence, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma (R), at the White House on March 2, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

“Alex is doing an excellent job!” he added.

The president also shared a missive from Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who described Azar as smart and talented.

Azar also took to Twitter to respond to the reports, accusing the media of smearing Trump and his administration’s response to COVID-19.

Media outlets “grossly overlook the historic whole-of-government response that we’ve been delivering under the President’s leadership,” Azar wrote.

The Wall Street Journal, one of the outlets that published a story claiming administration officials are discussing removing Azar, cited “six people familiar with the discussions.”

In a follow-up report on Trump’s reaction, the paper described stories about the matter as “speculation.”

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