Speed Reads

Revolving Door

The White House is reportedly discussing a plan to replace HHS chief Azar

It may seem unlikely that the White House would implement any major departmental leadership changes during a global health crisis, especially in the Department of Health and Human Services, but don't count it out just yet.

Though they're indeed reluctant to complete any major shakeups during the coronavirus pandemic, White House officials are discussing a plan to replace HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Politico and The Wall Street Journal report. Criticism of Azar's role has reportedly mounted in recent weeks, especially after Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Rick Bright was moved to a National Institutes of Health position, a transfer which Bright described as a form of retaliation, reportedly rattling some administration officials.

President Trump had reportedly expressed frustration with Azar even before the pandemic and ultimately replaced him as the coronavirus task force leader with Vice President Mike Pence. Some names that are being considered as his replacement include coronavirus coordinator Dr. Debora Birx, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, and Deputy HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, Politico reports.

Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement Saturday that Azar "continues to lead on a number of the president's priorities" and "any speculation about personnel is irresponsible." Read more at Politico and The Wall Street Journal.