Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks to the press in the Briefing Room at the White House on 20 November, 2020

Health secretary refuses to say whether Trump fit for office, won’t rule out 25th amendment


Health secretary refuses to say whether Trump fit for office, won’t rule out 25th amendment

Health secretary refuses to say whether Trump fit for office, won’t rule out 25th amendment

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has twice declined to say whether he believes if Donald Trump is still able to carry out the duties of the presidency.

He also would not comment on whether he had and other cabinet members had discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

In an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday, the usually loyal Mr Azar appeared to reprimand Mr Trump for his “unacceptable” rhetoric ahead of the storming of the Capitol last week that led to the deaths of five people.

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos pressed Mr Azar on the topic of removing the president from office, but he sidestepped the question, saying: “I’m committed — I’ve wrestled with this — I’m committed to see this through in my role as Health secretary during a pandemic, to ensure that vaccines and therapeutics get out to the American people and to ensure a smooth handoff to President-elect Biden’s team.”

Asked if he had discussed the subject of the 25th Amendment with the vice president or cabinet colleagues, the secretary again declined to comment.

“It would not be appropriate for me to discuss — and I never have — my conversations with colleagues or with the president and vice president.”

Three of Mr Azar’s fellow cabinet members have resigned since the violent assault on Congress on Wednesday.

Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, education secretary Betsy DeVos, and acting head of homeland security Chad Wolf have all handed in their resignations in the past week. 

Democratic lawmakers in Congress will move forward with impeachment proceedings against the president on Wednesday if Vice President Mike Pence does not use the 25th Amendment to remove Mr Trump from office.

The single article of impeachment put forward by Democratic representatives Ted Lieu, David Cicilline, and Jamie Raskin is “incitement of insurrection” — referring to the president’s role in encouraging his supporters to travel to Washington, DC, and then telling them to march on the Capitol building.

The impeachment resolution is expected to pass the House, making Mr Trump the only president ever to be impeached twice.


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