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Potential Departure from HHS?

Trump Administration officials have been discussing replacing Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Wall Street Journal reports. But the Washington Post adds that President Donald Trump has called reports of Azar's potential departure "fake news."

Azar was confirmed to the role in January 2018, replacing Tom Price, who had resigned a few months earlier over his spending on private flights. Prior to leading HHS, Azar led Eli Lilly's US division and, before that, was a deputy at HHS during President George W. Bush's administration.

According to the Journal, there have been rumblings of discontent regarding how Azar managed the early response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It notes that Azar oversaw that response until he was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence in late February. Despite this increased dissatisfaction with Azar, administration officials tell the Journal that the White House is reluctant to make changes to the HHS leadership during a pandemic. The Post adds that both the White House and HHS have denied Azar's position is in danger.

The Journal notes that "President Trump is prone to unexpected staffing moves and dismissals, so the decision could still go either way."