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US Health Secretary Azar condemns Capitol riot in resignation letter

Trump Cabinet member calls event ‘assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power,’ urges Trump to condemn all violence, ensure a smooth handover

In this file photo Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during an event on lowering prescription drug prices on November 20, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
In this file photo Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during an event on lowering prescription drug prices on November 20, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Recriminations over the attack on the US Capitol continued to reverberate on Friday when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar condemned the assault in his formal letter of resignation.

Azar said he will resign at noon on January 20, when US President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

In a letter to US President Donald Trump, Azar called the violence “an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power,” urging Trump to condemn all violence and help ensure a smooth handover to Biden.

The member of Trump’s Cabinet added: “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.”

The two-page letter recited administration accomplishments that Azar said “the actions and rhetoric following the election … threaten to tarnish.”

Azar took over as health secretary in 2018 and held the role throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed nearly 400,000 reported deaths in the United States.

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